In response to recent media reports questioning the delay of the election of the Premier of Western Province, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), Mr. Stanley Dick Pirione, today said:

“The Standing Orders of the Provincial Assembly require that the election of a Premier be held as soon as practicable after the provincial election. It is a decision for the province when they think it is appropriate to hold the election, however, normal practice is to convene the first Assembly meeting and elect a Premier within 30 days of the date of the election”.

“My consultation with the Provincial Secretary of Western Province revealed that the scheduling of the Premier's election for Western province was an administrative decision based on the capability and capacity of the province”.

“Knowing very well the cost associated with such meetings and given the financial status of the province, the Clerk to the Provincial Assembly, in consultation with the Provincial Treasurer and Provincial Secretary, scheduled the date for the Premier's election. This scheduled was agreed upon by the three of them even before the provincial elections were held on 31st Sept 2013”.

“The public must also note that this is a meeting of the province’s political leaders, and thus the cost associated with the logistical arrangements of these meetings is something that does not come so easily, and that such gathering, requires prior planning and budgeting at the backdrop of maintaining law and order”.

“I hope this information will help clarify some doubts and misconception on the actual situation there at Gizo, Western Province”.

“The newly elected western Provincial members still have until 30th of October to elect their Premier and the formation of an executive”.

“It is not surprising that when we are faced with such situations, a lot of misconceptions may arise. Such misconceptions can be grossly misinterpreted and be deceitfully used for personal gains, whether it be political, religious or financial”.

The Permanent Secretary also stressed out that the Ministry, Minister or the National Government to date, have no involvement or intention whatsoever in the election process. This is a matter for the western Province administration to deal with. We will only ensure that it is according to their Standing Orders and in compliance with the Provincial Government Act.

The Permanent secretary therefore reiterated that the Western Province has up until 30th of October to elect its Premier and to form an executive. The Permanent Secretary also appeals to the good citizens of Western Province to stay calm and not to take the law into their own hands, during the election of the Premier. The Ministry also will continue to liaise with the Provincial Secretary and Clerk to ensure there is normalcy in the proceedings towards the election of the Premier and formation of executive.