The Solomon Islands Provincial Government Amendment Bill 2014 has been passed without amendments at its third reading in parliament late yesterday afternoon.
The Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Hon. Silas Tausinga says it is intended the new Act will give the Minister powers to determine Provincial Election dates.
Presenting the Bill in Parliament this morning, Minister Tausinga says the responsible Minister determines a date favourable for the provincial elections following wide consultation.
“The Minister will determine or appoint an election date that deemed suitable, favourable and convenient after considering the circumstances that may have arisen during the election period. The purpose here would also imply that the Minister setting up an election date to also provide opportunities for proper planing, adequate preparations and convening of the Provincial election programs.”
The West New Georgia and Vona-Vona MP adds, the Act will also involve consultations with Provincial Premiers, dialogue over election dates.
“Mr Speaker Sir the proposed Amendment will also involve consultations with the Provincial Premiers concern for the date of convening an election date. This proposed provision would allow for alignment of work and logistical programs for both the National and Provincial Governments and arrangements to cater for proper management of election processes.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee and Member of Parliament for East Choiseul, Manasseh Sogavare says his committee supports the good intention of the Bill but cautious about the abuse of powers when this new Act becomes effective.
In his contribution to debate the bill this morning, Mr Sogavare says there is tendency certain sections of the Act is susceptible to manipulation.
“The Committee would like to see this reform carried out quickly. We’ve included it in our recommendations because we’re told that the option to repeal altogether Section 47, because if it is a problem Section that can lead to misuse of that power, then the clear option Mr Speaker is to repeal that Section, but the Committee is told that the option to repeal Section 47 to remove the temptation to abuse the power is not advisable Mr Speaker since the Minister will still need that power to deal with other unforeseen circumstances other than the changing of the election date Mr Speaker.”
It is understood that the Deputy speaker, Job Dudley Tausinga could not allow proceedings of the ‘Business Names Bill 2014′ to continue in the afternoon as the Committee of The whole House do not have the quorum.