Constituency boundaries body yet to begin work

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare inspecting a guard of Honour at Tulagi
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THE Constituency Boundaries Commission is still to commence work following the recent appointment of the Chairman and two other members.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirmed this in Parliament when asked by Opposition Leader Matthew Wale during the Committee of Supply of the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

Sogavare blames the delay of work on the situation faced by the country at the moment.

However, he said the point is taken because the constituencies of our boundaries have not been reviewed for long time now.

According to Electoral Commission, the Constitution requires that a review of constituency boundaries be conducted by the Constituency Boundaries Commission at least every 10 years.

The most recent redrawing of constituency boundaries occurred in 1997 (increasing the number of constituencies from 47 to 50).

In 2009 the Parliament rejected a recommendation from the Commission to increase the number of constituencies to 67.

Sogavare said the Act itself needs to be relooked at because it leaves Parliament with nothing to do.

He said Parliament is only allowed to reject or approve it, there is no discussion between Parliament and the Commission.

“Once it rejects it, that’s the end of the story.

“The failure of last one was the Commissioner made some recommendations to Parliament and cannot agree because everyone want their constituencies to split it up,” he said.

“We cannot move ahead on this. If the process gives room for further discussions probably, we can move,” he added.

However, Sogavare justified the way rural development is expounded is through constituencies.

He said there are constituencies that are so big now and need to relook to split it if want fair distributions of rural development assistance to our people.

These include big constituencies in Malaita, Guadalcanal, Western Province and Temotu outer islands because of distance.