MONDAY 29TH JUNE 2015
Senior Public Officers gathered at the Parliament House on Friday 26th for a one day workshop that will assist them to effectively engage in the work of Parliamentary Committees.
These Senior Public Servants are selected from all 25 government Ministries. They include, Directors, Under Secretaries and Permanent Secretaries.
Thus, this one day workshop allows this group to discuss with the Committee Secretariat on the important roles and functions of parliament; the work of parliamentary committees and to see how best they can participate in committee enquiries that includes oral and written submissions.
These engagements were based on formal invitations by BLC to appear before them on certain Bills that were introduced by their ministries or on a bill that they were either directly or indirectly stakeholders off.
However, there were no formal engagements with them on how best they can contribute to the scrutiny functions in Parliament. Hence, this workshop is aimed at facilitating information on the roles and functions of Parliament and the Parliamentary Committees and how the Public Servants can be best engaged by the Parliamentary Committees.
There are Ten (10) Parliamentary Committees established and functioning in Parliament. These Committees were established under the Standing Orders of Parliament to scrutinize Government Budget, government Bill, Government Policies and other issues affecting the lives of the citizens in the country.
Because of this Public Servants need to assess whether parliamentary committees have any influence, and whether the interests which Public Servants promote will be furthered by working with parliamentary committees.
MONDAY 23RD JUNE 2015
The Constitution Review Committee has concluded inquiries into the Independence of the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission commencing on the 18th of June 2015.
This is the first consultation into the independence of the PEC by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC).
The Members of Parliament (Entitlements) Commission (PEC) is established by section 69A of the Constitution and is mandated to regulate the entitlements of parliamentarians,
A recent decision of the PEC for the MPs’ Tax Free policy has brought the independence of the Commission under question. Therefore, the Committee has resolved to inquire into the independence of PEC in determining the MP’s entitlements.
Members of the PEC are: Chairman-Johnson Siapu, Steven Firiabae, Alfred Maetia, Ex-officio: - Finance Minister, Hon. Chairman of Public Accounts Committee.
Witnesses before the Committee were the Attorney General Mr. Billy Titiulu, a private lawyer Mr. Andrew Radcliff, Leader of the Independent Group, Hon. Manassah Maelanga, the Transparency Solomon Islands, Chamber of Commerce and Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII).
Hearings were live broadcasted on SIBC.
THURSDAY 4TH JUNE 2015
The Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament and MP for Central
Speaking at the opening of the women regional conference in Honiara on
“As seen in the past and in recent elections, women who want to participate
“One of the many challenges includes influencing the general public to accept
“Though numerous trainings have been done for intending women candidates,
The Deputy Speaker further stated that the participation of women in
“As the legislature, the National Parliament of Solomon Islands can play
Hon. Fugui has also highlighted evidence of how National Parliament as an
This was part of the gender components of the Parliamentary Civic Unit under
Hon. Fugui further explained that the Young Women’s Parliamentary Group is
“This group serves as a forum to allow young women and men supporters from
The Deputy Speaker further explained to participants the purpose of the group
He said YWPG works closely with the Ministry of Women, National Council of
“So this group is an avenue for young women leaders and others who show interest
Over the years, because of the interests members of the group have, they
Deputy Speaker Hon. Moffat Fugui further encouraged conference participants
He concluded that this will enable women to display leadership capacity
He said it is not farfetched to invest in these aspirations.
Hon. Fugui has also quoted the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and
“Investing in women is not only the right thing to do-but-a smart thing
Deputy Speaker Fugui finally cemented the above quotes by saying that the
The Women’s Leadership and Political Participation Regional Conference is
The conference ends this Thursday the 5th of June 2015.
WEDNESDAY 3RD JUNE 2015
The members and the chairmen of the ten Parliamentary Standing Committees in this 10th Parliament were given a chance to peruse through the draft federal constitution currently drafted by the Constitution Reform Unit(CRU) in a consultation workshop at the Paul Tovua Complex, National Parliament on Friday 29th May 2015.
The consultation workshop was basically to inform and update the committee on issues covered in the current draft Federal Constitution so far. CRU is now in its final process of consultation before the new Federal Constitution is tabled in Parliament.
Speaking on the first session was the Policy Secretary Mr. Warren Paia, who succinctly covered in his introduction session the introduction to federalism and its background, the features of unitary and federal systems. He also covered the co operative federalism including the fiscal federalism and its transition plus other matters in relation to the implementation of this current federal system of government which will sooner be adapted.
Session two was presented by the Constitutional Consultant Lawyer Mr. Reginald Teutao of the Constitution Reform Unit. In his presentation, Mr. Teutao highlighted the contemporary issues in the 2rd Draft of the Draft Federal Constitution –including; the citizenship, human rights, land , party politics and government formation, leadership stability, motion of no confidence, recall of MPs, state boundaries, rotation of presidency, state policing and security and state correctional services.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Constitution Review Committee (CRC) and MP for Aoke/LangaLanga Hon. Mathew Wale said the workshop is one of the many series of workshops to come which will enable Members of Parliament to understand fully and explore all the issues that could be explored so that when Parliament has to make a decision, it will make decisions based on informed positions rather than on ignorance and assumptions.
“We know some Members of Parliament don’t read very much so workshop like this is very helpful for Members and arguably this is one of the important decisions that parliament would make”
“So it is important that members of Parliament understand better all the issues covered in the draft federal constitution before we are placed in the position of making the decision on the amendments of the Constitution” Hon. Wale explained.
Many questions were raised by MPs regarding the transition of the current unitary system to the federal system that the country wants to adopt. The Leader of the Independent and Member of Parliament for East Malaita, Hon. Manasseh Maelanga has questioned the equalization transfer of the funds and how it will be administered if the new Federal system is in forced among the 9 states. In answering the question, the Constitutional consultant Lawyer Mr. Reginald Teutao explained that the funds collected by the Federal Government will be shared down to each state province because that is where the actual resources come from.
“The resources must go back to our rural people because that’s their power and we need to give them back”
“That’s where the bulk of our population and resources come from therefore rightly the money must go to them, that’s the whole argument”
Mr Teutao added that this equalization transfer is one of the sources to actually help us move forward. From what we have now will see different levels of development, he said.
“Precisely the transfer is actually to help out so that when we move forward under the present system at least we move in steps so that other provinces that lack infrastructure, human resources will not fall behind”
However the answer did not go down well with the Leader of Independent who argued that this will result in rich provinces to get richer and poor provinces to get poorer.
“That’s how I see the system will work as a layman’s point of view”
Hon. Maelanga further stressed that this federal system will develop disunity among Solomon Islanders.
“Smaller provinces that do not produce more revenue will be left behind even if we gave them their share of funds”, he Said.
“Currently in the National Government level some of our provinces are still left behind” Hon. Maelanga added.
Many questions were asked and discussed during the workshop by the members and the chairmen of the Parliamentary Committees on the current draft federal constitution.
It is understood that the first draft was produced in 2004, 2nd draft in 2009, 3rd in 2011, 4th and 5th Draft in 2013 and 6th and 7th draft in 2014.
The reason for having many draft federal constitution (DFCs) is because of the need to improve the preceding draft as a result of ongoing consultations with the people.
The next consultation workshop for MPs is expected in July before it is table in Parliament.
WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY 2015
The Parliamentary Civic Department has successfully completed its education outreach program for schools in West Guadalcanal from 19th to 21st May 2015.
The program stemmed out from the fourth Parliamentary Strategic objective which is to develop the education and outreach work of Parliament and the representative role of Members of Parliament (MPs).
Presentations were based on the topics:
West Guadalcanal Schools that the team visited during the outreach program were Visale Community High School, Selwyn College, Aruligho SDA mission School, Tamboko High School and Marara Community High School.
The students and teachers of the schools visited have shown much interest and have asked many questions on the topics presented. Some teachers even asked questions that were not in the presentation but relatively related to the work of members of Parliament and on issues such as the MPs free tax policy.
Team leader Ms Marisa Pepa had to make clarifications on that, in which she explained that the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission that looks after the MPs entitlements is under the Prime Minister’s Office and is different from the work of the ten standing committees of the National Parliament.
The question time sessions gave opportunities to both teachers and students to answer their confusions, doubts and queries.
Some of the questions asked were on the roles of Members of Parliaments, the three different groups in Parliament and their roles, the three arms of the state as well as the departments within Parliament Office and their duties. They were very keen to learn and know more about the functions of Parliament being the Legislature.
“We now realized that Parliament makes laws, Executive government executes or interprets the laws while the Judiciary acts upon the laws.”
“Now we can make a good choice of who to represent us in parliament when our next election comes.”
“Leaders will only fulfil the motto to lead is to serve if they better perform their roles as Representatives of the people, their roles as legislators and their roles in scrutinizing legislation”
“We have just realized the process of a bill before it becomes a law or an act of Parliament”
The above sentiments were, but some of the many lessons the students and teachers learned after the presentations. The group activities after the presentations also further their knowledge on our Parliamentary system. They even encouraged the Civic team to continue with this outreach program in the following years, not only for schools but also for the people in the constituencies who are yet to be educated on our parliamentary system.
The turnout in Selwyn College was extra-ordinary as the School Principal had invited the whole school of about 700 students to attend compared to the other four schools who only prepared their form 3s and 5s at the Civic’s request.
The team comprised of team leader and Chief Parliamentary Civic Education Officer Ms Marisa Pepa, Alex Siama (Civic Officer), Joy Angi (Director Parliament Media), Jasmine Waleafea Navala (Committee Secretariat), Wilson Ani (Committee Secretariat), Philemon Loe (Media Officer), Timothy Niu and Lawrence Scott (Logistics Officer).
Schools in East Guadalcanal are expecting the Civic team sometime in August and following that is a constituency tour to Choiseul Province.