The Parliamentary Civic Education outreach program at last week’s Kodili festival in Buala was successfully conducted despite being interrupted few times by heavy rain and strong winds.
Isabel men, women, boys and girls which comprised students came in numbers at the Parliament stall and listen attentively with interests to the Civic team’s awareness talks about our Parliamentary democracy and its functions.
Many Isabellians who flooded the Parliament Stall enjoyed the team’s awareness talks and were fully satisfied with the answers given and information shared to them by the team.
Topics that were discussed and shared on brochures include the functions of Parliament, roles of Members of Parliament, separation of powers and professional supporting services of Parliament.
Apart from the awareness talks, people were also engaged in a set of quiz where questions asked were based on the information written in the pamphlets they received.
That was the most interesting part of the awareness talks which drag hundreds each day to the Parliament stall, because people with the right answers were given free t-shirts that have the Parliament Logo, Court of Arms and Kodili Festival written on them.
The quiz part was fun and at the same time educational as it forcefully made the people to actually read all the brochures containing various topics that summarized our Parliamentary democracy.
Member of Parliament for Maringe/Kokota who is also the Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and meteorology Hon. Culwick Togamana has commended the Parliamentary Civic Team’s outreach program to educate and inform rural citizens in the provinces.
“I’m glad that you’re here to educate my people about my main role as a Member of Parliament or as their representative in the round house” Hon. Togamana told the Civic team.
“Most of the time our people regarded us MP’s as their Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) which we are not” Hon. Togamana sternly explained.
“With elections coming up next year people need to know the main roles of Parliament or being a Member of Parliament in order to make informed choices rather than picking on someone who will or acts as their ATM.
Hon. Culwick Togamana together with the Kodili festival Committee therefore invited the Civic team to the main stage where all the kodili activities took place to extend their awareness talks about Parliament and the roles of MP’s there.
Team leader and Chief Civic Education Officer Ms Marisa Pepa took to the main stage and talked to a packed crowd of thousands on the five main roles of Parliament. The five main roles of Parliament she talked about are:
- Law Making - Passes Law for Peace and Good Governance
- Representation - Voice of the People (constituents)
- Scrutiny and Oversight - Ensures that Executive Arm fulfils its policies
- Approves Budget - Approves money for government to provide services to its citizens eg. Schools, Clinics, Roads, Sanitation
- Forms Government- After each National General Elections MPs meet at Parliament and the party with the most members forms government, in our case a coalition (more than one party) since we do not have a strong political party system.
After the talks many people whom the team talked to said they do now understand the separation of powers or the three arms of the state and their functions.
“We do now know that Parliament is headed by the Speaker and its priority function is to make or amend laws; the Executive or Government which is headed by the Prime Minister to execute or carry out the law; and the Judiciary which is headed by the Chief Justice to interpret the law”
The Kodili festival committee also thanked the Civic team for accepting their invitation to bring Parliament right down to their shores.
“Your awareness talks did clear our doubts especially for some of us who still think that Parliament is the ruling government and deals with people’s projects” the people exclaimed.
Speaker of Parliament Ajilon Nasiu once said, “It is rewarding experience to engage with the general populace, through various civic activities and outreach program that will make them appreciate the mechanics of parliamentary procedures and processes and how these parliamentary mechanisms provide how the state governs its citizens.”
Taking Parliament to such provincial occasion is very important for ordinary Solomon Islanders to hear from parliament what their MPs are doing in the big round house at Vavaya Ridge.
The outreach program also allowed the CIVIC team to mingle, interact and learn in depth about the unique cultures and customs of the people of Isabel Province at the Kodili Festival.
Funding is the only hindrance for Parliament Civic team to reach out to all 50 constituencies however Parliament through its radio programs also reaches out to the nation at large.