Birao Chiefs boycott Parl extension awareness

Chiefs of Birao, East Guadalcanal
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Birao House of Chiefs in Marau, East Guadalcanal have boycotted a consultation awareness on the extension of the life of parliament which was held at the Marau station on the 6th June, by East Guadalcanal Member of Parliament (MP) Bradley Tovosia and his 10-man delegation.

Reports reaching the media stated that the Birao Chiefs have adhered to the recent call to boycott the consultation which aims to advocate on the extension of the life of parliament for another year.

It said the MP’s delegation included three Political Appointees from the Prime Minister’s Office, three Ex-militants and three others including his Constituency Development Officer.

“Our chiefs were not consulted prior to the program, not even the Guadalcanal Provincial Government, this is a complete disregard for us,” a statement from the Birao House of Chiefs representing the Marau Nima Ni Araha and Bubutalihu Valena Nonoe, on behalf of the people of Birao ward, East Guadalcanal, said today.

In their recent joint meeting, representatives of the two houses of chiefs, in agreement and in show of solidarity hereby declare their common position and stand on the proposed extension of the life of parliament from four to five years.

“Never at any time, we the people of Birao ward have supported the current government’s proposition and do not subscribe to the move to implement the proposed extension of the life of the parliament.

“It is our sincere belief and absolute duty as citizens of this nation, to accord respect and uphold the supremacy of the Solomon Islands constitution in all manner. That in the past, present and in the future, we as sovereign citizens of this country are bound to protect our constitution, protest and speak-out against any action taken by any ruling government or whosoever to undermine the rule of law in Solomon Islands,” a statement the chiefs issued on Sunday, said.

The statement adds, “We the people of Birao ward in East Guadalcanal, pledge to respect and uphold section 73(3) of the Solomon Islands Constitution which stipulates that parliament’s life “shall continue for four years from the date of the first sitting of parliament after any general election.”

“We believe our constitution is the supreme law of this country thus any proposed amendment by the ruling government to that effect should be subject to a national referendum seeking the consent of the people whom the government represents in parliament. Any action in contrary, is negligent in nature and must be condemned in the strongest term.

“We the people of Birao ward are unanimously opposed to the proposed extension of the life of parliament,” the chiefs said.

The chiefs add, “We strongly feel that the ruling government failed its duty to the people of Solomon Islands that is, to protect the constitution and on the outset is irresponsible by failing to plan and disregard the constitutional duty of its citizens to vote by proposing to delay the 2023 National General Election.

“We subscribe to the view that the 2023 Pacific Games in any way should not take pre-eminence over the constitution of this country. We further raise as a precaution, that a bad precedence would be set for future governments to repeat this situation. We firmly believe that any plan by the current ruling government to pursue such amendment should be addressed through a national referendum, to seek the consent of its people and those whom they govern before making the necessary amendments.”

The Birao ward chiefs have declared their intension to boycott any talks or consultation planned by their Member of Parliament (MP) to advocate on the matter of the extension of the life of parliament for another year.

The 10-man delegation includes;

Bradley Tovosia – MP for East Guadalcanal Constituency

Albert Kabui – Special Secretary to Prime Minister

Samson Faisi – Political Appointee in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)

Tommy Mana – Political Appointee (PMO)

Joseph Sangu – Ex-militant

Andrew Te’e – Ex-militant

Tome Futa – Ex-militant

East Guadalcanal Constituency Development Officer

Patrick Savusi – Former Provincial member

Alphonse Laumanasa – Tetekaji Ward Provincial member

The statement from the Birao chiefs said their people have questioned the genuineness of the consultation and perceived such activities as a waste of time and valuable resources.

“Instead, the people of Birao ward are willing to meet and talk with our Member on the following development priorities;

“Consultation for the re-opening of the Marau Airport and discuss the challenges faced by the people of East Guadalcanal as a result of the suspension of flight by Solomon Airline months ago.

“The development of the Marau Mini-Hospital project, a critical health infrastructure project for the people of Birao ward and East Guadalcanal.

“Consultation and discussions on the proposed Marau Township project, engage with our chiefs to consider the important issues that are critical for the progress of the project and people of the people of Tasimauri.

“Consult and engage with our MP on the developments taking place within Birao ward and seek his direct support in matters relating to the development of Manikalaku provincial station.

“Discuss our concerns about the Sangasere Kaoka road infrastructure and its impacts on the lives of the people of Birao ward.

“Consult to get update on the current national issues including the recent signed security arrangement with PRC and the geo-politics surrounding the deal. Our MP should explain to us the risks and implications of such government decision and what the future holds for the people of Birao ward.

“We feel the security arrangement will compromise and undermine the role and functions of the Royal Solomon Islands Police to safeguard our security interests.

“Consult with MP on the numerous Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) being signed by the current ruling government. The people of Birao ward feel that they are being denied of such knowledge and kept confounded on these matters of national interest.

“Consult with our MP on the impact of the Blue economy MOU on our people. Without an existing legal framework to regulate our ocean resources, our people are bound to suffer the negative impact resulting from such undertaking in the near future. The people of Birao depends on its marine resources for their livelihood.

Consult on the lack of shipping service to East Guadalcanal, despite the funding obtained by the MP in the past for the purpose of purchasing a boat under the shipping grant.

“We the people of Birao ward strongly feel that these are the priorities affecting the lives of our people and our MP should prioritise them, not the proposed extension of the life parliament, a decision which potentially has already been deliberated on and approved by the cabinet.

“Our appeal is for us to engage in active consultation with our Member of Parliament (MP) on the above points as a matter of importance. May God bless Birao ward, Guadalcanal Province. May God bless Solomon Islands,” the statement concludes.

Reports reaching the paper stated another awareness at Makaruka did not go down well with chiefs there.

The awareness at Makaruka was instead held at Komuvaolu village of the Moro movement.