Home News THE PROPOSED EXTENSION OF PARLIAMENT FROM FOUR TO FIVE YEARS

THE PROPOSED EXTENSION OF PARLIAMENT FROM FOUR TO FIVE YEARS

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Under the Constitution of Solomon Islands, a Parliament term is fixed at 4 years calculated from the first meeting of Parliament.  The first Parliament meeting of the 11th Parliament [current parliament] was convened on the 15th of May 2019. Section 73(3) of the Constitution provides that Parliament unless sooner dissolved under subsection 73(1) shall continue for four years from the date of the first sitting of Parliament after any general election shall then stand dissolved.

The DCGA Cabinet passed the decision [2021] to amend the Constitution to extend the term of Parliament from 4 years to 5 years. Up until today consultations with stakeholders have remained exclusive leaving out the citizens at large.  Most recently the DCGA government has changed its approach, tune, and language from ‘EXTENSION OF PARLIAMENT TERM to DEFERMENT OF NATIONAL GENERAL ELECTION TO 2024’. The DCGA government is currently out in the constituencies with its DCGA Constituency Awareness Pack 2022 on this matter. It is indeed sad and a concern to see the continued assumption by the DCGA Government and its political appointees that the people of Solomon Islands lack the intelligence, knowledge, education, experience, and analytical skills to think for themselves and see this for what it is.

Deferment of the National Election is nothing more than the Extension of Parliament, [ first meeting convened 15th May 2019] with DCGA government remaining in power for longer than as provided for in Solomon Islands Constitution.  This behaviour and conduct should not be a surprise to the citizens of Solomon Islands who have observed DCGA government and its conduct since it gained government official power through the manipulation of the very weak and a Political Parties Integrity Act that is full of holes.  What country in the world has someone that stood as an independent candidate in an election end up being the Prime Minister, what political party in the world ends up being the party that exercise executive official power when it did not campaign in the National General Election as a Political Party and has no mandate from the people?  Only in Solomon Islands this happens.

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The citizens of Solomon Islands though quiet are not ignorant, and DCGA government should not take them for granted.  Now the DCGA government MPs [OUR Party majority] and its coalition party MPs are in the constituencies that they lied to in 2019 National General Election when they campaigned under different parties then with their “DCGA CONSTITUENCY AWARENESS PACK 2022 on the deferment and much more. The “DEFERMENTS MEANS DCGA GOVERNMENT REMAINING IN POWER’ for longer than four-year period provided for that could end up making their term in parliament 5 years.  Just like what happened with the CDF in 2000. The CDF then was given to Members of Parliament to repatriate their people back to their provinces at the ethnic tension days and since then they liked it and it has remained in their control.  What is there to assure citizens that this will not be the case with deferment/extension of NGE or parliament term. Transparency Solomon Islands urges the citizens of Solomon Islands not to be misled by the words used by DCGA.

Transparency Solomon Islands reading through the DCGA Awareness Pack 2022, and the contents therein sees what the DCGA government is doing now out in the Constituencies as DCGA GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGNING OUTSIDE OF THE CAMPAIGN PERIOD.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Of more concern is that this campaign activity of the DCGA Government is funded from tax-payers money and is a breach of the Electoral Act with regard to campaign.  The DCGA CONSTITUENCY AWARENESS PACK 2022 contains more than the deferment.  It is full of Policies of the DCGA Government more like a campaign pack than an awareness of the proposed extension of parliament term or the deferment of the National General Election. Transparency Solomon Islands calls on the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission to monitor the current activities of the DCGA government Members of Parliament to ascertain that OUR Party and its coalition political party are not under the guise of DCGA AWARENESS PACK 2022 are truly not campaigning outside of the Campaign Period provided for in the Electoral Act 2018.  How fair, impartial, is what they are doing now not only to the voters/citizens and other Political Parties and independent candidates.  Other political parties are hereby also called upon to call out what DCGA government is currently doing and committing in broad day light.  Where is the free and fair election and democracy in all of this. Again, For Members of Parliament carrying out this awareness instead of the responsible Ministry/Institution is questionable and can only be for the benefit of DCGA’s agenda -campaigning ahead of time. The SSPM of course may be right [for the courts to interpret] but for the Political Parties Members of Parliament within the DCGA government doing this a year before the National General Elections, it is campaigning outside of campaign period provided for under the Electoral Act 2018.

On the proposed Extension of Parliament discussions, to balance the selective and exclusive consultation that Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, was conducting, Transparency Solomon Islands between 16th March to 1st April 2022 commissioned a public opinion survey on the opinions, perceptions, views of the people of this country on the proposed extension of parliament term, face to face, through phone, online and on Facebook group pages. The survey was carried out by a number of enumerators. Those who participated in the survey are children [13yrs-18yrs], youth [19yrs-34 yrs.], adults [35years plus].

The findings of this survey ‘CITIZENS SPEAKING -PERCEPTIONS, OBSERVATIONS, EXPERRIENCES, OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDS’, will be launched on Sunday 19th June live on SIBC.  The launch will be followed by panel discussion on the proposed, extension of Parliament Term, including the latest spin on this issue by the DCGA Government “THE DEFERMENT OF NATIONAL GENERAL ELECTION TO 2024”. The program will start at 12.00 noon and will go on until 2.00pm.

Transparency Solomon Islands invites you to turn on your radio and listen to the voices of our youth on this subject. Youths as a group have not been given the opportunity nor the space, and voice, as a cohort of our population, on their views with regard to national issues of interest and concern in Solomon Islands. The innuendoes of Hon Minister Anthony Veke in the floor of parliament under the protection of parliament privileges continues to portray youth negatively in relation to the National Council of Women’s talk-back show and TSI quotes, “They actually admit that mothers gave birth to the children that burned Chinatown. Well, it is true, but it is shameful! A women leader a mother, do you realize that you have a right to teach your child?” end of quote. The potential and richness that Youth are capable of contributing to mapping the way forward for a healthy, safe Solomon Islands is always downplayed.

Interact with them through this talk-back show and find out what their views, their suggestions, their analysis of this proposed extension of Parliament Term and now packaged as the deferment of National General Elections.  There will be limited copies of the report available for media at the launch.  Anyone who wishes to have a copy, can call into Transparency Solomon Islands’ Office at Hyundai Mall Room 226.

TSI Media

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