BLC concludes Western and Choiseul provincial inquiries.

The Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) has successfully concluded its inquiries into the Public Health Emergency Bill 2021 on Tuesday 24th August 2021 for the Choiseul and Western Provincial region.

It took almost a week and a half to conduct the hearings, unfortunately BLC was not able to conduct hearings in Nila, Shortlands because of a restriction order by medical authorities, however, BLC might consider going to Shortlands later.

BLC members with the Speaker(far right) and Members of the Choiseul Provincial Assembly infront of the Provincial Assembly house

Hearings were only conducted in Taro, Gizo, Munda and Seghe for the selected front line workers, government agencies that served there and various community representatives from surrounding villages.

BLC was also able to pay courtesy calls to Provincial leaders before conducting hearings on the ground.

Acting Chairman of the BLC, Mathew Wale, told witnesses that the hearings allowed Parliament to engage with the public, thus, this process is significant to the Committees and Parliament.

“We would like to hear your thoughts on this very important piece of legislation in this western part of the country.” Wale said.

Witnesses in the Western and Choiseul provinces willingly share their observations and provide the Committee with adequate information with evidences concerning their own communities and their border with Bougainville.

A female community representative asked a question during the inquiries in Gizo

They informed the Committee that the object and reasons of the Bill are genuine except that some clauses need to be re-looked at or amended.

Many recommendations were also made by various sectors like the biosecurity, customs, police and immigration officers who were also present at the hearings.

People also shared that they were not properly consulted to better understand the Bill, while a few managed to skim through before actually submitting their evidences to the Committee.

Details of the Western and Choiseul Province’s inquiry will be made known to the public after all hearings are completed and a report of evidences and recommendations is compiled and tabled in parliament for debate.

BLC Committee Members – from left Hon. Lily Maefai, Hon. Stanley Sofu and Hon. Matthew Wale (Acting BLC Chair) during the hearing in Gizo.

The team returned back to Honiara on Wednesday 25th August 2021 and are now in preparation to visit the Central Islands Province this weekend.

Hearings for the Central Islands province will be conducted in their provincial headquarter, Tulagi on Tuesday 31st August 2021.

Travelling Committee members to Central province are;

  1. Hon. Matthew Cooper Wale, Member, Acting Chairman
  2. Hon. John Deane Kuku, Member
  3. Hon. Lilly Maefai, Member
  4. Hon. Rick Nelson Houenipwela, Member
  5. Hon. Derrick Rawcliff Manuári, Member
  6. Hon. Peter Kenilorea Jr, Member

The Committee will be accompanied by National Parliament Office support services staff.

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