HONIARA City Councillor for Vura Ward, Reginald Ngati has suggested that the proposed awareness by Members of Parliament (MPs’) in their respective constituencies regarding the extension of parliament be implemented cooperatively or neutrally.
Cr Ngati made the suggestions following reports that the DCGA government has agreed that Government Members of Parliament in particular will be traveling to their Constituencies to consult with their constituents.
“This is the honest way to find out if the extension of parliament is in the best interest of the people or not,” he said.
In terms of engaging in a cooperative awareness, the Councillor suggested that both the national and provincial ward members must combine when engaging in the awareness.
“Engaging in a cooperative awareness by both the national and provincial leaders will be meaningful because it will allow all constituents to participate and share ideas or disagreements regarding the proposal to extend the life of parliament from four to five years.
“I think the cooperation of both leaders is very important because the responsibility to look after each constituency is not a lone responsibility of the national leader. Provincial members also have the same responsibility as they are also responsible for the wards within a constituency.
“Therefore, for a member of parliament to participate alone in the constituency awareness instead of the provincial member is not a complete awareness,” Cr Ngati said.
He added that by looking at the current government and its position in taking the idea to extend the life of parliament to five years, they already have what it takes to carry it forward. That way, even if the awareness is not accomplished, they can still go ahead with the proposal.
“I feared that if the MPs’ visited their voters and committee members only when carrying out the awareness, the views of the non-voters in the constituencies will never be heard.”
The Councillor said the people of this nation were left in the dark in the switch of recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019. Now, the government should at least give people a chance to have a say in the proposed extension of parliament.
He said it is sad that the constituencies have already been divided before the switch to China.
“This is evident because both the national and provincial leaders have not been working together not only now but decades ago. Even in the past, it is voters of certain MPs’ that are benefiting more from the constituency funds and not non-voters.”
Speaking of a neutral awareness, he said the government should let the office of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) to conduct an independent and neutral awareness.
“This is an election-related matter, therefore the SIEC should be engaged in conducting a neutral awareness on the extension of parliament life from four to five years.
“It is also a constitutional matter and it is fitting to have the electoral office implementing the awareness on behalf of the members of parliament because it is a neutral body,” said Cr Ngati.
After they have completed the awareness, they will then produce a report which will be forwarded for debate in parliament, he added.
It is understood that these consultations are expected to be undertaken in July this year.
Parliament is due to resume on 15th July in its mid-year session.