Small Malaita Chiefs is the latest group to oppose to the extension of parliament after resolving that they don’t support any moves to extend the life of Parliament, either temporarily or to a five years’ term.
This was the outcome of the consultation between Rick Hou, the MP for Small Malaita, who recently completed a week’s visit in his constituency.
Hou also attended a meeting of tribal chiefs and community leaders at Riverside Village on 25 and 26 May 2022. The leaders called for awareness on a number of current issues, namely the extension of Parliament, COVID regulations and legislation of traditional governance. That meeting, which gathered about 140 leaders (men & women) from all 3 wards in Small Constituency, agreed on a number of resolutions on those issues for their MP to take up with the Government.
On the Deferment of National General Election, the statement said, “… the SI national constitution is the supreme law and no other laws, including the PG Charter, should be used to tamper with it.”
The chiefs said that the current Parliament, nor DCGA, has any mandate by the people of SI to change the national constitution in any way.
“The people’s fundamental right is to cast their ballot every four years. The Pacific Games is nothing compared to our rights under the national constitution”, the statemen,t said.
The chiefs said that the Government’s proposal for MPs to conduct consultation with their people on the issue is ill-conceived and is senseless.
“How can MPs carry out any objective consultation?” they asked. MPs either have a bias, if not a conflict of interest, in this matter,” the statement, said.
The statement added that the PM’s reasons for the proposal to extend the life of Parliament – including allowing time for electoral reforms to be addressed and that the registration of voters has to be updated – are all lame excuses.
“It is very disappointing that the Government is not making necessary preparations towards the 2023 national general elections. This is a total disregard of duty to the people of this country as required under the Electoral Act 2018,” the statement.
The chiefs said that given the situation, the right thing would be to call for an early dissolution of parliament.
“We call on the Members of Parliament for an early dissolution of Parliament. If done, this would be a great achievement by the DCGA government – that the national general election would be held as well as hold the Pacific Games in 2023. With that option, the national constitution would be preserved, and Solomon Islands would not breach the Pacific Games Charter”, the statement said.