Premier of Central Islands Province Stanley Manetiva was voted out today in his absence and four of his ministers in a dramatic day in Tulagi. The MONC was allowed to go on in the morning though the Attorney-General’s Chamber advising — in the afternoon — that tabling of the motion today would be seen as invalid.
Six Non-Executive Provincial Members (MPAs’) and two former ministers of the Manetiva Government who resigned from him recently attended today’s assembly, debated the Motion of No Confidence Against (MONC) Manetiva and eventually voted on it. All 8 MPAs’ voted in favour of the motion.
Manetiva confirmed to SBMOnline that he didn’t attend today’s assembly.
He said his absence was not a boycott but he was following procedures as advised by the Attorney General’s Chamber.
In an advice to the Provincial Secretary of CIP, the Attorney-Genera’s Chambers made reference to the MONC which was filed with the Speaker on the 30th of May.
The AG’s Chamber confirmed that the Speaker had called a meeting for today 7th June and the MONC tabled as a point of order, however, the seven days’ notice period has not lapsed.
“Your instructions are that due notice was given that on the 10th of June, the motion would be debated,” the AG’s Chamber stated in the advice to the PS.
It added: “The issue is whether the motion of no confidence can be moved before the seven days’ notice has lapsed. The answer is no. The motion of no confidence is a democratic process enshrined in the constitution of Solomon Islands 1978, in which section 107 of the Central Province Standing Order derives the provision.”
The AG’ Chamber further warned that a deviation from the prescribed procedure may render the action invalid.
But Kenneth Sagupari MPA Ward 2 Central West Ngella, who was amongst those who met today said they had voted Manetiva out and nomination is now open for candidates for the premier’s position. He said the MONC was debated in the morning whilst the AG’s advice was made in the afternoon
He explained that the Speaker, Francis Mua, had already sought legal advice from the Ministry of Provincial Government and even the AG’s Chamber and they had advised for the meeting to go ahead today.
He said they were only made aware of the AG Chamber’s advice in the afternoon when the MONC was already debated and defeated.
The 8 MPAs’ who held the majority in the CIP Provincial Assembly had advised the Speaker to convene an urgent sitting under Section 58 of the Standing Order as they had the absolute majority in the assembly.
Section 58 states that the Speaker shall call for a meeting if an absolute majority of members’ present letter to him signed by each member calling for meeting on the stated date on the letter. The letter submitted to the Speaker had eight signatures.
That resulted in today’s sitting.
When the assembly convened today the Speaker suspended the relevant standing orders based on his discretion and allowed the motion to be debated.
The motion was moved by Polycap Galaigu, the MPA Ward 8, North West Ngella, which amongst the allegations he raised was Manetiva’s dealings on loggings and other further accusations against his administration.
Manetiva said, the only meeting which he was consulted on was set for 13th, June. On that date he was prepared to clear the air on the floor over allegations levelled against him.
But Sagupari said as far as they were concerned the premier had already lost the chair and if he had not accepted it he could take the matter to court.
Sagupari further added that Manetiva’s tactic to delay the sitting was done purposely for the minister of provincial government to dissolve the assembly.
“Such attitude is irresponsible on him as the premier,” he said.
Sagupari said they wanted to urgently hold the meeting so that the province’s budget is passed by 22 June as CIP now operates on a contingent warrant which expires on the day.
“This is the reason why we pushed for the settlement of the political impasse to avoid our people from being unnecessarily penalized,” he said.