National Parliament of Solomon Islands

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Parliamentary Strengthening Project

 

15TH JULY 2014

During the Youth Market programs at the National Art Gallery, last week, many Honiara Residents and youths have an opportunity to learn about Parliament, its functions and how it relates to the executive and the judiciary

Thanks to the Youth at Work organizing committee which endowed the National Parliament Office with an opportunity to involve in the Youth Market Program and share with citizens the roles of parliament as mandated in the constitution.

There were two specific areas Honiara residents have curiously showed interest in knowing more information about. These include:

  • the separation of the three arms of government namely the Parliament (Legislature), Government (Executive) and the Courts(Judiciary) and
  • the difference between a Standing Select Committee and Special Select Committee.

It is not common knowledge among ordinary citizens that in the operations of the three arms of government, the Legislature makes the laws, the Executive carry out the law and the Judiciary interprets the law.

Many residents also appreciate learning about the ten Standing Committees and their roles in making inquiry into their specific subject areas of focus.

For instance the Bills Committee deals with bills tabled in Parliament and the Public Accounts Committee make inquiry into how government ministries make and spent their budgets. Standing Committees last for a life of a parliament.

In comparison Special Select Committee are appointed to look into a specific issue and report to parliament. At the tabling of the report the Special Select Committee ceases to exist.

Parliament Media

WEDNESDAY 8TH JULY 2014

A one day stakeholders’ information workshop for Permanent Secretaries and senior government officials on Parliamentary Committees ended successfully at the National Parliament Paul Tovua Complex on Friday the 4th of July 2014

This was the third of its kind organized by the Committee Secretariat Department at the National Parliament for stakeholders with the aim to inform Government Ministries and Statutory Post Offices of the roles of Parliamentary Committees and how its stakeholders can assist in Parliamentary oversight roles.

Two similar workshops were held in 2013 for the Civil Society Groups and Public Servants.
The workshop which is aimed at building affirmative networking and support with its stakeholders was described as an eye opening for most participants.
The objectives of the workshop as outline by the Director of Committees, Marson Lilopeza, are:

1. To know the important roles and functions of Parliament
2. To know the role and the functions of the Parliamentary Committees, what they are and their role in the Parliamentary democracy
3. To learn how to participate in the Parliamentary Inquiry, giving evidence before the Committee and how to make submission to Parliament
4. To allow information sharing between the Ministries/Statutory Organizations and the Committee Secretariat

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 Chairman of Bills and Legislation Committee, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Douglas Ete and National Parliamentary Strengthening Project Manager, Celsus Talifilu.

Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee explained in great detail the work of the committees and the importance of building affirmative networking and reporting with stakeholders.

Mr. Talifilu spoke on the successful implementation of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project in assisting parliament with its oversight and scrutiny roles
Subjects covered during the workshop were:

1. A brief overview of the important roles and functions of Parliament
2. Legislative, oversight, and representation roles.
3. How and why Parliament oversees the Executive.
4. Parliamentary Accountability
5. Parliamentary Privilege
6. Parliamentary Committees-What they are and what they do
7. Types of Committees
• Establishment and membership
• Powers
• Inquiries
8. Working with Committees
9. What to do if you are asked to provide information to a parliamentary committee:
• Calling for submissions
• Writing a submission
• Appearing before the Committee
• Giving evidence
• Providing answers to questions on notice

This workshop coincides with the ending of successful three day awareness and information program ran by the Parliamentary Civic Education Department at the Youth at Work event at the National Art Gallery in Honiara.
Both events were fully supported by the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project.

THURSDAY 23rd JUNE 2014
The Parliamentary Civic Education and Awareness Program to the three Honiara Constituencies is underway beginning with the West Honiara constituency on Sunday the 22nd of June 2014.

This is the first time Parliament tours the three Honiara constituencies beginning with West Honiara and possible subsequent visits to the other two constituencies, depending on outcome of consultations between the East and Central Honiara constituents and their Members of Parliament.

The idea of Constituency awareness programs seek to address the urgent need in raising awareness to the people of Solomon Islands about roles and functions of Parliament.

Headed by the National Parliament Civic Education Unit, a team of eight Parliament officers are conducting presentations and workshops to the constituency.

Presentations will focus on sharing and discussing the possible ways Parliament and the community could assist constituents in the effective discharge of their constituency rights as citizens particularly the election of Members of Parliament, in the upcoming 2014 National General Election.

Topics to be presented include: an explanation on the roles and functions of Parliament; the Departments within Parliament; groups within Parliament; and the role of Members of Parliament.

Schedules of the programs with the constituency as outlined are:

Sunday 22nd June 2014 - White River School Hall – 1pm – 4pm

Sunday 29th June 2014- Rove Police Club – 1pm – 4pm

Sunday 6th July 2014 – Lengakiki & Tasahe – 1pm – 4pm

This is an opportunity where constituents will freely discuss why we have a Parliament including the function of Parliament and the role of Members of Parliament.

The team lead by Jefferson Hallu, a Committee Secretariat Officer of the National Parliament Office will be conducting presentations, discussions and asking and answering of questions from the communities they are visiting.

A schedule for the other two Honiara Constituencies will be announced soon.


TUESDAY 3RD JUNE 2014

The sixth meeting of the ninth Parliament adjourned Sine- Die on Thursday the 29th of May 2014.

The Speaker of the National Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza has described the recent sixth meeting of the ninth Parliament as one of a long haul since it started on Thursday 3rd April 2014.

In his closing remarks, Sir Allan thanked all Members of Parliament (MPs), the Committee Chairs and staff of the National Parliament for their contributions and support during the course of the meeting.

One of the incidents Sir Allan highlighted as a loss to Parliament is the death of the Member of Parliament for Ngella Constituency, the late Hon. Johnley Hatimoana. He described late Hatimoana as one very hardworking Member.

He also highlighted the election of the Governor General as one very important business which Parliament has undertaken in electing the nation’s Governor General on the 6th of May 2014.

Sir Allan reported that the recent sixth meeting has seen the passing of eleven Bills and three motions being debated, however, he regretted that Parliament deliberations on other important motions like the amendment of Standing Orders and the Teachers Absenteeism Report didn’t eventuate.
The eleven Bills were:

  1. Magistrates’ Courts (Amendment) Bill 2014
  2. Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2014
  3. 2013 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014
  4. Constitution (Status of Magistrates) (Amendment) Bill 2014
  5. Constitutional Offices (terms and Conditions of Service) (Judicial Reform) (Amendment) Bill 2014
  6. 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014
  7. Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2014
  8. Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill 2014
  9. Political Parties Integrity Bill 2014.
  10. Sales Tax Amendment Bill 2014
  11. Land and Titles (Amendment) Bill 2014

"Parliament quorums have been an issue in this meeting. There needs to be an improvement on this area in future meetings," Sir Allan pointed out.

With regard to infrastructure in the Parliament precinct, Sir Allan reminded all MPs that their offices at the Paul Tovua Complex are still out of bounds due to minor repair works.

"My office is doing all it can to make it accessible again. I wish to let Members know that the damage caused by the heavy rain during the month of April when we experienced the flash flood here, major damage was caused to the electrical, plumbing and the building infrastructure."

Sir Allan sadly mentioned to all Members that the total cost of both plumbing and electrical damage is estimated at over $1 million. He pointed out that Fletcher Kwaimani Construction had conducted a structural assessment of the damage caused to the building but Parliament Office is yet to receive their report.

As there are only three months before Parliament dissolved, the Speaker is anticipating having another meeting or two before the country goes to the polls.


THURSDAY 29TH MAY 2014

Parliament passed the Land and Titles (Amendment) Bill 2014 on Wednesday the 28th of May 2014

The major objective of the Act is to increase transparency and openness in the process of land allocation and to provide and improve an administrative system that should stimulate better customer service and set the platforms for a fairer, efficient, justifiable and equitable land allocation system.
To achieve this objective the Bill has established a Land Board comprised of key stakeholders who will take on the power to deal with interest in land and all other related powers and functions.

This Land Board is comprised of more than one person to deliberate on applications for land allocation and related issues, but importantly it frees all officers responsible for land administration of the Act and this includes the Commissioner of Lands.

This Commissioner of Lands will focus on regulatory and administrative matters.
Further, the amendments will have a positive effect in enhancing government revenue.

The passing of this Bill added a total of eleven Bills being passed in this meeting. They are:
1. Magistrates’ Courts (Amendment) Bill 2014
2. Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2014
3. 2013 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014
4. Constitution (Status of Magistrates) (Amendment) Bill 2014
5. Constitutional Offices (terms and Conditions of Service)(Judicial Reform) (Amendment) Bill 2014
6. 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014
7. Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2014
8. Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill 2014
9. Political Parties Integrity Bill 2014.
10. Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill 2014
11. Land and Titles (Amendment) Bill 2014
The Land and Titles (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed with amendments.


Parliament has passed the Political Parties Integrity Bill on Tuesday the 27th of May 2014.

The Bill which is now an Act provided for the Registration, Administration, and Development of Political Parties, to promote Integrity in their operations, for related matters and to make consequential amendments to the National Parliament Electoral Provisions Act (cap.87).

It has a total of 73 clauses and was passed with amendments.

A total of twelve Bills came before the House for this current sitting, nine has been considered and passed, another three are still before the House. Following are the nine Bills already passed in this current sitting:

  1. Magistrates’ Courts (Amendment) Bill 2014
  2. Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 2014
  3. 2013 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014
  4. Constitution (Status of Magistrates) (Amendment) Bill 2014
  5. Constitutional Offices (terms and Conditions of Service) (Judicial Reform) (Amendment) Bill 2014
  6. 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2014
  7. Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2014
  8. Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill 2014
  9. Political Parties Integrity Bill 2014.

Three Bills that are still before the House are the Land and Titles (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Business Names Bill 2014.


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