Wednesday, 24 September 2008 6:50 AM

West is Ready for Federalism: Lokopio

The Premier of the Western Province, Hon. Alex Lokopio, is adamant that the Western Province is ready to adopt Federalism.

Hon. Lokopio made the submission to the Parliamentary Constitution Review Committee in its consultation with Premiers of the Nine Provinces in Solomon Islands. The review focused largely on the Draft Federal Constitution.

Hon. Lokopio said that the people of the Western Province are ready, "after thirty years we are ready for change...we must look back on the failures of the current system and move forward."

Hon. Lokopio added that while many have argued that the system may be costly to implement the "sharing of powers with lower governments would open up more opportunities." "This would ensure that people participate, since governments will be closer to the people," said Hon. Lokopio.

"Federalism may be costly but if we move power to the Provinces and use local authorities... reduce decision makers at the central government...cost could be spread out," he said.

Hon. Lokopio said that the Federal system of government is an opportunity for Solomon Islanders to address seething problems at the Provincial level "which would lead to a more prosperous Solomon Islands."

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
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By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province