National Parliament of Solomon Islands

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Parliamentary Strengthening Project

 

THURSDAY 18TH DECEMBER 2014

LEFT:Mr Ajilon Jasper Nasiu(Speaker)RIGHT:Hon. John M Fugui(Deputy Speaker)

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands has elected in a new Speaker

Mr Ajilon Jasper Nasiu who is a former Provincial Premier for Rennell and Bellona Province was elected by the 50 Members of Parliament shortly after taking their Oath of Allegiance in Parliament Wednesday morning.
Mr Nasiu won with a majority of four votes over his rival and former clerk to Parliament Ms Taeasi Sanga.
Former Speaker of Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza who presides over the election announced Nasiu’s victory after the election.
“Honourable Members it is an honour to announce that the candidate duly elected by members of parliament as the Speaker for the National Parliament of Solomon Islands is Mr Ajilon Jasper Nasiu, who polls 27 votes and Taeasi Sanga polls 23 votes, a majority of four votes.”
Mr Nasiu is the 10th Speaker of Parliament since Solomon Islands gained independence in 1978. He was nominated by the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Douglas Ete.
Meanwhile, the new Deputy Speaker of Parliament is Hon. John Moffat Fugui Member of Parliament for Central Honiara.
Hon. Fugui polled a total of 29 votes against Hon. David Tome, Member of Parliament for Baegu Asifola who polled only 21votes.

MONDAY 15TH DECEMBER 2014

The 10th Parliament will commence its first sitting on Wednesday 17th December 2014.

His Excellency, the Governor General, Sir Frank Kabui, has already signed the proclamation of the sitting date in accordance with section 72 (1) of the Constitution.

This first sitting is decisive as members of the 10th Parliament will take their Oaths and elect their Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

By virtue of section 64 (2) (c) (ii) of the Constitution, read with the proviso of section 65, the incumbent Speaker holds office until the next Speaker is elected, If the incumbent Speaker is not available, then the Deputy Speaker will preside over the election of the Speaker. The Speaker elect will then preside over the election of the Deputy Speaker.

Meanwhile nominations for the Speaker opened on Sunday 14th December and closes on Tuesday 16th December 2014.

It is understood that the current Clerk to Parliament, Ms Taeasi Sanga is highly likely to be a candidate for the Speaker’s post. Ms Sanga has been advocated for and described by the general public in the mainstream and social media as a potential candidate for the Speaker’s position.

Ms Sanga told the Solomon Star’s weekend magazine that she’s ready to take up the Speaker’s post if that’s what the people want.

The Speaker’s post has been occupied by male Speakers since independence in 1978.

WEDNESDAY 10th DECEMBER 2014


ABOVE:Governor General Frank Kabui announces Manasseh Sogavare's appointment as PM

Honourable Manasseh Sogavare has been declared as Solomon Islands 12th Prime Minister.

The Governor General’s announcement of Sogavare’s victory was greeted with cheering from the crowd outside parliament’s precinct and vehicle horns were heard in the streets as the news was broadcasted live over SIBC.

All 50 members of Parliament were present with just only one round of voting in the election by secret ballot with Hon Sogavare polling 31 votes over Hon. Jeremiah Manele who secured 19 votes.

In his victory speech, the Prime Minister elect, Manasseh Sogavare, said he was humbled to be given the mandate to lead the country for the third time. He thanked the people of Solomon Islands for their prayers and support.

“I commend my victory and Government into the hands of the Almighty God”
Hon. Sogavare saluted his rival and MP for Hograno/Kia/, Havulei, Hon. Jeremiah Manele, for the courage he has shown as a first time parliamentarian.
Prime Minister Sogavare also thanked his coalition members of United Democratic Party (UDP) and Kandere Party for the trust and confidence they have entrusted in him.
“My Government’s vision is political reforming and change”

He emphasised more on working together with international donors and including the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to build a stronger Solomon Islands.

"And I like to say here that my new government's vision for change isn't just political rhetoric. All of us we know of the need for redirection and reforms, just must embrace these themes . We will stress this point when we talk with all our stakeholders including our international donor community who are in the country and who have helped us so much."

Hon. Sogavare further explained that his first task is to amalgamate party policies in his coalition and to pass a mini budget for government spending as it ends on 31st December.

Prime Minister Sogavare is expected to announce his Deputy and members of his Cabinet soon

THURSDAY 4TH DECEMBER 2014


ABOVE:From left Denmark Pahu of Betikama Adventist College, Jessica Parapolo of KGVI School, Tania Wickham of St. Nicholas School and Isaac Barley of Selwyn College

Four Solomon Islands young leaders have returned to the country after coming 2nd at the first ever Melanesian School Debate in Papua New Guinea.

They received a heroic welcome from friends, families and supporters upon their arrival at the Honiara International Airport on Tuesday. The four students who represented Solomon Islands are Isaac Barley of Selwyn College, Tania Wickham of St. Nicholas School, Denmark Pahu of Betikama Adventist College and Jessica Parapolo of KGVI School. National Parliament Officers Jasmine Waleafea and Chris Paul accompanied the students as their mentors.

Papua New Guinea came out champions to win the first Melanesian School Debate title after beating Solomon Islands in the final round of speech competition by just three points only.

Despite the small margin loss, people are happy with the results. They said the four students had put on a fine performance in the competition.
“Congratulations you have done Solomon Islands proud”
“Congratulations Team Solomon, you have made us extremely proud”
Those were the chorus sang in the social media by friends and supporters.

With its second place, Solomon Islands was awarded the First runner up Cup with charismatic Denmark Pahu of Betikama Adventist College snatching the best speaker of debate, best male speaker award and walked away with a trophy and MacBook Laptop presented to him by NCDC Governor and IBS National Debate patron, Powes Parkop.
Jasmine Waleafea of National Parliament Office, who accompanied the team to PNG said Solomon Islands had made a good start in the competition.

“We even took the lead in the second round with 10 points, PNG with seven points and Vanuatu with four points but unfortunately we were out-paced in the final”
She said the students have done their best; their performance was impressive and outstanding throughout the whole competition.
“We are competent but have a lot of room for improvement for future similar events,” she said.

Solomon’s debate team leader, Isaac Barley said the competition helped them develop the confidence to stand in front of a large crowd of people and critically debate on issues affecting Pacific Island countries.
The speech competition was the first ever to be organized amongst three Melanesian neighbors, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The objectives of this event was geared towards building confidence among students, recognition of their leadership qualities, and enables the voice of youths to be heard by policy and law makers and contributes to influence public decision making.

The competition was an initiative derived from the success of the first ever Regional Youth Parliament (RYP) hosted by Solomon Islands National Parliament on September 2013. Ms Vani K Nades from the Institute of Business Studies (IBS) PNG who attended the Regional Youth Parliament as an observer further pursue the idea to organize this first school debate in Papua New Guinea this year. Organizers said the idea was to engage students from all Melanesian countries.

The topics debated at the recent debate program are;
• Customary land in Melanesia should be registered to ensure sustainable development and economic growth Donors,
• Foreign Aid Donors should decide how Pacific Island countries spend their money and,
• It is fair for Australia to negotiate with Pacific islands Countries to host asylum seekers.

Team Solomon was fortunate to represent the country in this program through the proud support and sponsorship of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project (PSP), National Parliament Office and Youth Development Division of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs.

The second Melanesian School debate will be held at Vanuatu next year, 2015.

WEDNESDAY 3RD DECEMBER 2014

The Governor General Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui has declared Tuesday 9th December 2014 to elect Solomon Islands 12th Prime Minister.

Sir Frank had issued a notice to all the newly elected members of the 10th Parliament yesterday (Tuesday 2nd December 2014) by virtue of section 33(1) of the Constitution and schedule 2 to the Constitution, purposely to convene a meeting for the election of Prime Minister on the 9th of December, 2014.
Nominations open at 8:00 am on Tuesday 2nd December and will close at 4:00 pm Friday 5th December. The notice stated that at the close of nominations, the Governor General will submit a list specifying all candidates nominated and respective nominators to each Member prior to the election meeting.

Under the Constitution, all 50 Members of Parliament are eligible for candidature. But no Member shall be qualified to be a candidate unless he or she is nominated by 4 MPs. An MP is allowed to make only one nomination for a candidate of choice.

In terms of withdrawals, any candidate may withdraw his candidature at any time before the conclusion of the election

MONDAY 13TH OCTOBER 2014

Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Sir Allan Kemakeza has officially tendered his resignation on Friday the 10th of October 2014.

Sir Allan did not state his reasons for the resignation, however, he based it on section 64(2) (a) of the Constitution.

Section 64(2)(a) of the Constitution stipulates, the office of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker shall become vacant if he announces the resignation of his office to Parliament or if, by writing under his hand addressed to Parliament and received by the Clerk to the Legislature, he resigns that office.

The Constitution does not stipulate what would happen to the Speaker’s Office when the Speaker resigned, however, Section 65 of the Constitution states: “Provided that at the first sitting of Parliament after any general election, until a Speaker is elected there shall preside the person who last held office as Speaker or, in his absence, the person who last held office as Deputy Speaker.”

The election of a new Speaker is expected to take place at the first sitting of the next House.

THURSDAY 2ND OCTOBER 2014

A one week Training for Hansard staff of the National Parliament was successfully concluded last week.

The training was coordinated by two New Zealand Parliament Staff, Lawrence Patchett and John Greenless at the Paul Tovua Complex.

The training which was described as timely was part of the Hansard Departments 2014 Department work plan (DAWP). To develop and up skill Hansard staff and to review Hansard’s editing manuals.

This included upgrading and development of an in-house dictionary and reference manuals where Hansard officers can use as a guide in producing daily parliamentary reports.

One issue that was highlighted during the training is the issue of producing Hansard in a timely manner, and ways to enable stakeholders to have access to Hansard information through available mediums such as the Parliamentary official website.

Currently the Hansard department has recruited 5 new officers, therefore, this training will equipped them in developing relevant technical skills and knowledge that is required to effectively discharge their responsibilities.

During the course of the training Lawrence Patchett and John Greenless highlighted what New Zealand Hansard do in practice. They emphasized on developing an in house Dictionary and referencing manual that will enable the accurate and consistent use of parliamentary references.

Discussions were also based on the technicality of translation and other issues Hansard staff faced in Reporting and Editing of Hansard scripts; ways to minimize the challenges encountered and the implications National Parliament might face in the process of dissemination of Information to the public and stakeholders.

During the training the two experts also raised the need to have on-going external mentoring between the two Parliaments in order to continue to review and develop the current resources.

This is to cater for the continuous changes in information received and disseminated by Parliaments and to meet the acceptable standard of Hansarding that Parliaments in Developed nations like New Zealand and Australia have.

It is anticipated that future training programs which involved external mentoring between New Zealand Parliament, Solomon Islands Parliament and other Parliaments in the Parliament twinning Program will continue to safeguard implications that may relate to vocabulary and linguistic abuse experienced by other parliament.

THURSDAY 2ND OCTOBER 2014

Parliament has strongly condemned claims in an article written by Alfred Sasako in the Island Sun Newspaper that an ultimatum was given by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for former members of Parliament to provide evidence about how they used millions of dollars in Constituency grants or face prosecution.

The article which titled, “Former MPs given ultimatum on Constituency Grants,” is not true and is misleading.

Claims by Mr. Sasako that sources said, “the ultimatum by the Public Accounts Committee has angered caretaker Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, who blamed former speaker, Sir Allan Kemakeza for allowing the PAC to scrutinize the use of Constituency grants,” were false and misleading.

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee [PAC] has not conducted any enquiry or distributed any questionnaire relating to the distribution or use of constituency grants by Members of Parliament over the past eight years.

The PAC has not issued any report on any enquiry held by the PAC into audit reports submitted by the Auditor General in the 9th Parliament. The hearings into several audit reports held by PAC in June and July 2014 were completed too close to the dissolution of the 9th Parliament for a report to be finalized and tabled, and these reports will be prepared for any future Parliament to consider.

It would have only been proper and ethical for Sasako and the Editor of the Island Sun Newspaper to verify those facts with Parliament before going ahead to publicize the article.

Parliament had cautioned the media to take extra care when receiving articles from writers who depend on other sources other than Parliament to provide them with information regarding the scrutiny role of Parliamentary Committees and other incidents or events that happened in Parliament. This is to avoid misinforming the public.

WEDNESDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 2014


ABOVE:Some of the Members of the Young Women's Parliamentary Group pose for a Photo at the SIPPA Office

The Young Women’s Parliamentary Group (YWPG) on Tuesday 16th September underwent a group Pap smear test at the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood (SIPPA).

This was part of their campaign against cervical cancer. The theme for this campaign is ‘Fight Like a Girl’. The young women took the step to do the test and decided to go public about it.

Sexually related diseases are usually frowned upon and are not something that is openly discussed. Women find it embarrassing and are ashamed to come forward to take the test. The group did this public awareness so that other women can also come forward.
Cervical cancer is the highest killer cancer among Solomon Islands women, and this can be prevented if women do the simple Pap smear test early. Solomon Islands also have a very high youth population who are sexually active and the high risk of cervical cancer is inevitable.

For the Young Women’s Parliamentary Group members, some of them are doing this for the first time and it is quite a challenge as well as one of them commented.
“I was not mentally ready for the test, it was awkward and embarrassing and excruciating all at once, but it only takes less than five minutes and when its done, you have the assurance that you are being an ambassador to advocate young women like myself to be aware of the fatality of Cervical Cancer. I did it, and so can you”.
According to a nurse working at the SIPPA clinic, results of the tests should be made available for the women around November or December 2014. The nurse said, getting results after two or three months is one Challenge SIPPA and even the National Referral hospital have always faced.

On that note YWPG Advisor Ms Marisa Pepa said they are hopeful to work with the new government thru the Ministry of Health to see the process of results is done quickly as lives are at stake.
“So while we are still healthy we must go and get tested and don’t wait till it’s too late”

Ms Marisa Pepa further explained that they will be conducting another group test sometime next month and she urges all the young women out there to get tested as well.
She also thanked the Solomon Island Planned Parenthood for making it possible for the group and also for continuing the service to all the women of this country. The Group will continue its campaign and is looking forward to working with the new government in getting the cervical cancer vaccine introduced into our health program.

TUESDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2014


ABOVE:Workshop Participants and Parliamentary Committee Secretariat Staff Pose for Photo During the Workshop

A fourth stakeholders’ information workshop was conducted and ended successfully for SOEs and Statutory Bodies on Parliamentary Committees at the National Parliament Paul Tovua Complex on Friday the 12th of July 2014.

The Committee Secretariat Department at the National Parliament has again organized this one day workshop for stakeholders with the aim to inform our State Own Enterprises (SOEs) on the roles of Parliamentary Committees and how they can assist in Parliamentary oversight roles.

Two of these similar workshops were held in 2013 for the Civil Society Groups and Public Servants, another one in early July this year for the Permanent Secretaries and senior government officials and the recent one was for all SOEs and statutory bodies.
The workshop was presented through power point by responsible Committee Secretariat staff Director Marson Lilopeza, Jefferson Halu, Wilson Orisi and Salome Pilumate who covered specific areas where Committees can build assenting networking and support with its stakeholders.

Main areas covered during the workshop included:

•Roles and functions of Parliament

•Roles and the functions of the Parliamentary Committees, what they are and their role in the Parliamentary democracy

•Learning how to participate in the Parliamentary Inquiry, giving evidence before the Committee and how to make submission to Parliament

•Information sharing between SOEs, statutory bodies and the Committee Secretariat

This workshop which is aimed at building affirmative networking and support with its stakeholders was described as an eye opening for most participants.
Those who attended commended the workshop stating it was a great learning opportunity. Some of the participants realized that they have been taking Parliamentary proceedings for granted.

Guest Speakers at the workshop were the former Chairman of Bills and Legislation Committee, Mr. Manasseh Sogavare and former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr. Douglas Ete .

Both former Chairpersons explained in great detail the work of the committees and the importance of building affirmative networking and reporting with stakeholders.
All information workshops were fully supported by the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project.

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