THE Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (OPMC) has described a front-page article in the Solomon Star titled ‘West to sue gov’t’ as misleading and erroneous.
The statement from the OPMC said firstly it must be noted that it was Parliament that passed the Provincial Government Act 1997, not the national Government.
“The Provincial Government Act 1997 did not uproot the Provincial Government Act 1981. In fact, the Provincial Government Act 1997 repealed the Provincial Government Act 1996,” the statement added.
The Premier was quoted in the paper as saying that, “Provinces can only prosper under the Provincial Government Act 1981 and the reintroduction of the said is a quest that my provincial government is committed to doing.”
As such, there is actually no need to reintroduce the Provincial Government Act 1981.
The statement clarified that the Provincial Government Act 1997 was passed and enacted by Parliament on 25th November 1997 and assented to on 19th December 1997.
“Its objective and purpose was to re-enact the Provincial Government Act, 1981, with all amendments made thereto until the date of its repeal, together with modifications and transitional provisions necessary in consequence of the repeal of the 1996 Act. This is to set the record straight,” it said.
As such, it said to challenge the Provincial Government Act 1997 is to challenge the Provincial Government Act 1981, which is the very law the Premier wants to bring back.
The OPMC statement said the Premier should as a matter of priority seek proper legal advice or the opinion of the Attorney-General before making unnecessary and unsubstantiated statements.
“Had he done so, he would have received proper advice with regards to the matters raised in his unsubstantiated press release. However, if the Premier of Western Province wishes to take this matter to court then that is his constitutional right to do so,” the statement said.