TUESDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2015
The 2nd Melanesian High School Debate Competition is currently underway in Port Vila after its Official opening yesterday, Monday 23rd November 2015.
It is a one week program of debate and should be concluded on Friday the 27th November 2015.
Representing Solomon Islands are Ms. Nauna Revo of Florence Young Christian School, Ms. Tania Wickham of St Nicholas College, Ms. Patisha Wate of KGVI School, Mr. Jayson Joseph of Betikama Adventist College, Mr. John Firibo of Bishop Epalle and two accompanying staff Mr Alex Seama, Parliamentary Civic Education Officer and Mrs. Navie Bently Tito a KGVI School English teacher.
The Melanesian School debate committee (MSDC) in collaboration with the Solomon Islands National Schools Speech Competition and Mini -English and Arts Festival Committee, selected the five best students during the July English Festival in Honiara.
Team Solomon is competing with neighboring Melanesian Countries like Fiji, Papua New Guinea and host Vanuatu.
They came second to Papua New Guinea in last year’s first Melanesian School Debate after they were down by just three points only in the final round of speech competition. With its second place, team Solomon was also awarded the first runner up cup for the best speaker of debate and the best male speaker award.
According to the Chairman of the organising committee and Director for youth, Mr Andre Tipoki, our students are determined to bring back the first prize this time round.
Team Solomon is supported and funded by the Ministry of Women Youth & Children Affairs, Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, National Parliament of Solomon Islands and Solomon Telekom for their T-Shirts.
The purpose of hosting such event is to develop the youth participants to realise their potentials and to build their confidence to lead in their schools, youth groupings, village and communities. Participants will recognise their leadership qualities and prepare to utilise them in the future, Youth voice will be heard by police and law makers and contributes to influence public decision making.
This will provide an avenue for young people to come together to learn about governments and politics in their sister Melanesian states and encourages youths to come together to know each other and more importantly establish friendship with other youths.
It also paves the way for young people of the Pacific to actively engage at an early age in discussing and debating issues that affects their lives and lives of the people in the Pacific.
THURSDAY 5TH NOVEMBER 2015
The Public Accounts Committee is inquiring into the 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2015.
The inquiry begins on Wednesday the 4th of November 2015 and is expected to end on Friday the 6th of November 2015.
The 2015 Supplementary Appropriation Bills which will be brought before Parliament estimates up to One hundred and ninety five million, seven hundred and forty thousand, and one hundred and thirty one dollars.
This supplementary appropriation is to supplement additional expenditure and expenditure incurred by the issue of Contingencies warrants, Advance warrants, Variations in Appropriations and Additional Recurrent Supplementary Estimates from a total of thirteen ministries.
Permanent Secretaries and senior officers from the following Government Ministries have appeared before the Committee to provide substantive evidences for their request; Ministry of Finance and Treasury; Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services; Ministry of Communication and Civil Aviation; Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Ministry of Infrastructure Development and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management.
The remaining two; Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will conclude the hearings with their submissions today.
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Rick Hou told the witnesses that Committees are an extension of Parliament; hence, what they said in the hearings is protected by parliamentary privileges and cannot be later used against them in any legal proceedings.
Hon. Hou told witnesses that because of the strength of this privilege, the committee expects all witnesses to ensure that their views and answers are truthful and are confining to matters relevant to the questions asked by members.
And he warned that providing false evidence to the committee is contempt to the committee.
“Witnesses shall not also reflect or comment unfairly or defame others. The privilege that is provided by Parliament to witnesses must be respected and used wisely.”
This scrutiny exercise is provided for under Orders 69(b) of the Parliament Standing Orders to establish the causes of excesses over authorized expenditures. The committee will report to Parliament with recommendations on appropriate future measures to cater for such excesses of expenditure.
Members of the Committee are: Hon. Connelly Sandakabatu, Hon. Jeremiah Manele, Hon. Derrick Manuari, Hon.Nestor Giro, Hon. Matthew Cooper Wale and Hon. Steve Abana.
These hearings are broadcasted live on SIBC.
TUESDAY 3RD NOVEMBER 2015
Hon. Andrew Manepora’a stood unopposed for the position of Deputy Speaker to the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.
Hon. Manepora’a who is Member of Parliament for East Areare is the only nominee for the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Nominations for the position of Deputy Speaker opened on Friday 30th October 2015 and closed on 4pm Sunday 1st November 2015.
Only one candidate, Hon. Andrew Manepora’a was nominated at the closure of nominations on Sunday 1st November 2015, therefore, he is the new Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.
The Deputy Speaker performs the role of the Speaker when the Speaker is absent.
The Speaker is elected by Members of Parliament from outside of Parliament while the Deputy Speaker is elected from among the Members of Parliament.
The current Speaker is Mr Ajilon Jasper Nasiu and the Deputy Speaker is Hon. Andrew Manepora’a.
MONDAY 2ND NOVEMBER 2015
The Leader of Opposition, Hon Jeremiah Manele has withdrawn the motion of No Confidence against Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday the 30th of October 2015.
The Leader of Opposition has not stated his reasons for withdrawing the motion but it was evident on the floor of Parliament that the Government has regain numerical strength.
The motion was submitted for notice in Parliament on Wednesday the 21st October 2015.
Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Mr Jasper Ajilon Nasiu in announcing the withdrawal of the motion has also informed the House of the ruling made by the High Court regarding the validity of the decision by the Speaker to allow the Motion of No Confidence to be set down for the business on Friday the 30th of October 2015.
The High Court ruled that internal proceedings of Parliament cannot be inquired into by the Courts, unless there is a breach of the law. He also inform the House of the need to elect a new Deputy Speaker since the former Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Central Honiara, Hon. John Moffet Fugui has taken up a portfolio with the Government as the new Minister of Education and Human Resources Development.
Nominations for the Deputy Speaker are opened today Friday the 30th of October 2015 and will close on Sunday the 1st of November 2015.
Parliament is adjourned to Monday the 2nd of November 2015, thus the Election of the Deputy Speaker is expected to be conducted on Monday the 2nd of November 2015.
TUESDAY 27th OCTOBER 2015
The Leader of Opposition, Hon. Jeremiah Manele has lodged a Motion of No confidence against Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare on Wednesday the 21st October 2015.
The motion is: That the National Parliament of Solomon Islands resolves that it has no confidence on the Prime Minister.
Details of the motion of No Confidence in the Prime Minister have not been revealed but that is expected to be delivered during debate after it is being moved.
However, since Parliament is adjourned to Friday the 30th of October 2015, it is expected that the Leader of Opposition Hon. Jeremiah Manele will move the Motion when parliament resumes on Friday.
MONDAY 26TH OCTOBER 2015
The inquiry into the Solomon Islands western border security and threat and police integrity deterioration has been successfully conducted.
The Parliamentary Police, National Security and Correctional Services Committee (the ‘Committee’) successfully undertook a series of inquiry at the Solomon Islands western region particularly at Gizo, Shortland Islands, Taro at Choiseul Province and Munda last week.
The hearings brought more than 100 participants that included the Chiefs, Church Leaders, community leaders, Women’s rep, provincial government administrators and management, members of provincial assemblies of both the Western and Choiseul Provinces, Police officers, ex-police officers, teachers and youths from where the inquiries were conducted at the Solomon Islands western borders.
In his opening remarks at each hearing, the Committee Chairman (Ag), Hon Manasseh Maelanga, clarified to the participants that his committee, like any other parliamentary committees was formed by Parliament to oversee and conduct enquiries on issues that is of national interest, one of which is border Security and Police integrity.
The participants have informed the Committee that the issue of border security and threat and its impacts is so imminent and complex consequently as results from a chain of other issues.
Many recommendations were also made by various sectors like the biosecurity, customs, police and immigrations during the hearing and the committee will consider these in its report to parliament when completed.
It is too early to conclude on the causes and impacts of Border security and the integrity of Police in the Western borders; however, details will be made known to the public after the Committee’s report has been compiled and tabled in parliament.
Village Chiefs and elders including women in the Shortland islands have expressed their sincere appreciation to the Committee for taking the initiatives to go down to their level to listen to their grievances and submissions on this important issue which is affecting their lives for many years in the past. They also recommended that the issues provided to the Committee be included in the final report and be implemented.
The Chairman acknowledged the participants and told them that his committee will be taking on board their submissions and recommendations.
The Committee’s first inquiry was held in Gizo on the 5th of October, the second was held in the Shortlands on 7th October, the third at Taro, Choiseul Province on 9th October, the fourth hearing in Munda on 12th October and finally wrapped up the hearing back in Gizo on 15th October 2015.
This is the first inquiry conducted on the Solomon Islands National Border security. The Committee is planning to conduct similar hearing at the Eastern Solomon Islands Border at Temotu Province and Vanuatu and as well as at the Malaita Outer Islands our other national Border with Torres Islands in Australia.
A team of four Committee Members and eight Parliamentary Officials were engaged in last week’s border inquiry in the Western and Choiseul Provinces respectively.
The Secretariat are: Mr Wilson Orisi – Police, National Security and Correctional Services Committee Secretary, Mr Marson Lilopeza – Director Committees, Ms Vanessa Rodie – Committee Secretary , Ms Salome Pilumate – Committee Secretary/Admin, Mr Sunjay Dhari – IT and Technical Officer
The Committee is anticipating to conduct a hearing for the Police Commissioner and other Police ranks and files, and relevant senior officials from the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services for their views on the Terms of Reference (TOR) before tabling a final report in Parliament.
By: Philemon Loe
TUESDAY 6TH OCTOBER 2015
The Parliamentary Police, National Security and Correctional Services Committee is conducting Inquiries in the Western Region as of the 5th of October 2015 on the issue of “Solomon Islands Western Border National Security and Threat and Police integrity Deterioration.
The Committee has resolved to enquire into and report on this issue of Border Security, threat and Police Integrity on the 1st of May 2015.
At this inquiry, the Committee will:
Their first inquiry was in Gizo on 5th October and will continue to Choiseul Province, Parts of Shortland and Munda.
A team of six Committee Members and seven Parliamentary Officials travelled down to the Western Provincial Capital on Sunday the 4th of October 2015.
Committee Members Include: Hon. Manasseh Maelanga – Chairman (Ag) Hon Jimmy Lusibaea, Hon Namson Tran, Hon Charles Sigoto, Hon Christopher Laore and Hon David Tome.
The Secretariat are: Mr Wilson Orisi – Committee Secretary, Mr Marson Lilopeza – Committee Secretary, Ms Vanessa Rodie – Committee Secretary, Ms Salome Pilumate – Committee Secretary/Admin, Mr Sunjay Dhari – IT and Technical Officer
On their return to Honiara, they will again conduct a two days follow up hearing in Gizo for provincial officers, police, women and community representatives.
The team will return to Honiara before Parliament meets on the 15th of October 2015 and will report to Parliament when the report is ready.
MONDAY 5TH OCTOBER 2015
Parliament will convene for its third meeting on Thursday the 15th of October 2015.
This is the 3rd meeting of the tenth Parliament.
Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Mr. Ajilon Jasper Nasiu has received a copy of the notice to the Governor General from the Prime Minister confirming the date of the meeting.
So far no Government Bill has yet reached Parliament, but it is expected that a number of Bills would be brought before Parliament at this meeting.
In its previous meeting in April, Parliament has passed 2 Bills. They were the 2015 Appropriation Bill 2015 and the Fisheries Management Bill 2015.
Motions that were brought before the House are: The Address of thanks to the Governor General’s speech given to Parliament and the motion of appreciation for the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Programme that ended in March this year.
The Clerk and the staff of the National Parliament Office are now preparing for the meeting, especially the Bills and Legislation Committee who will be calling stakeholders for hearings on certain Bills that will come before the House before they are being debated and passed.
TUESDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER 2015
Stakeholders of the workshop on Parliamentary Committee system that was conducted at the Parliament House last week had expressed the need to build close working relations with Parliamentary Committees.
Stakeholders come from the Judiciary and State Own Enterprises sectors. This includes the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Public Solicitor, Magistrate Court, High Court, Attorney General’s Chambers, Law Reform Unit, Ministry of Police and Correctional Service, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.
The program begins with opening remarks from the Clerk to National Parliament, Mr Clezy Rore and continued with presentations from the staff of Parliament on the following topics:
1. Roles and functions of Parliament
One of the highlights was the question of what role these Government Offices and SOE’s have play in the committee system and if there is a need for a closer working relationship between stakeholders and the committees.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Mr Edmond Sikua said the role of the Ministry of Police and National Security within the Police and National Security Committee in Parliament is important.
He said it is high time the Ministry must work together with Parliamentary Committees, especially the Police and National Security Committee and the Public Accounts Committee; so that issues pertaining to National Security and Budgets can be raised directly to Parliament.
“Involving the Ministry upfront in the whole process is important so that we can properly budget for issues that are important to the work of police and correctional services, so that the security of our people is properly taken care of,” he said.
All along, Government Ministries, State Own Enterprises and other Organizations do not see the linkage between them and Parliamentary Committees; therefore, they do not fully utilize it.
Currently, there are ten Standing Committees in Parliament. They are:
• Public Accounts Committee
Others such as the Attorney General who was also a stakeholder at the workshop shared his concern around the areas of implementing recommendations in committee reports that are tabled in Parliament.
He highlighted the case of the Short Bus Routes inquiries that were carried out by a Special Committee in 2013 as a challenging example, and asked if there are any existing mechanisms to ensure that these recommendations are carried out.
One of the Committee Secretaries who did a presentation on this segment clarified that it is the role of government Ministries to act upon these recommendations and although these Committees have no direct influence over the implementation part, there are avenues Parliament can use to ensure recommendations are implemented.
Parliament through the work of Committees see issues and inquire into them through public hearings to gather information and put together in a report with recommendations to Parliament.
These reports with recommendations are tabled in Parliament and it is expected that Government through its responsible Ministries take action to implement them.
FRIDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2015
The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) in collaboration with the Office of the Auditor General and the Committee Secretariat of the National Parliament successfully conducted a one day intensive workshop on financially oversight for PAC and PEC members at the Paul Tovua Complex Conference Center on Wednesday 16 July.
The workshop aimed at getting the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Public Expenditure Committee (PEC) to bolster their scrutiny role when reviewing public funds in an uniformed and high standard auditing practice.
“You have been tasked to this vital role on behalf of the people of Solomon Islands” the Speaker added.
The Speaker told the committee members the initiative and commitment taken by the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) in providing support to the Public Accounts Committees in the Pacific region is of high importance and very beneficial.
The one day practicum saw PASAI Advocatore, Eroni Vatuloka and Auditor General (Acting), Robert Cohen took turns in their presentations and discussions for the MPs. This includes general discussions on PASAI’s roles, PASAI accountability and transparency surveys-role of PAC to improve, Public Accounts Committees and Supreme Audit Institutions in the Pacific region-different types that exist and the unique type in Solomon Islands, Audit opinions on government accounts-what do they mean and what causes the issue of critical ones and challenges over the life of 10th Parliament for the Office of the Auditor General and Public Accounts Committee.
PASAI Advocate Eroni Vatuloka thanked the National Parliament’s Secretariat team for their excellent organization of the PAC/PEC workshop.
This was the first PAC workshop that PASAI has been involved in alone compared to what happened in the past where they had collaborated with UNDP (Samoa 2012, Marshall Islands 2014).
“We are indeed grateful for that” uttered Mr. Vatuloka.
He expressed his organization’s appreciation of the successful workshop conducted last week to the Speaker Mr. Ajilon Nasiu, the PAC Chairman Hon. Rick Hou and MPs who were present.
PAC Chairman and MP for Small Malaita Hon. Rick Hou thanked Mr. Vatuloka and (PASAI) for their support in promoting professional auditing workshops for PACs in the Pacific region in which Solomon Islands is now part of.
“We are looking forward to work closely with PASAI in the future” Hon. Hou explained.
The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) is the official association of supreme audit institutions (government audit offices and similar organisations, known as SAIs) in the Pacific region.
PASAI is supported by the Asian Development Bank, the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, the International Association of Supreme Audit Institutions Development Initiative, and the World Bank.