DCGA has mandate to extend life of parl, says PM’s adviser

National Parliament of Solomon Islands
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SPECIAL Secretary to Prime Minister, Albert Kabui says it is not a legal requirement to carry out public consultation on the government’s proposed extension of Parliament from 4 to 5 years.

Kabui told reporters yesterday that the Government can come up with any policy without consultation because it has the legal mandate to do that.

Attorney General John Muria Junior also supported the sentiment.

Muria Junior said there is no constitutional provision to carry out consultation.

He said Government only do consultation because of “good practice”.

Government plans to extend life of Parliament to five years because next year’s national elections will clash with the Pacific Games, which Honiara is hosting.

It said the country does not have the resources, logistics and man power to host both events.

Kabui said Cabinet is still to make any decision on the two options – to amend a clause in the Constitution to extend life of the current House or amend the Constitution for permanent extension.

Opposition leader Mathew Wale earlier expressed strong objections to the proposal.

Wale told reporters extending the life of parliament “is self-serving” because there is no consultation with people – the electorate.

“We adopt constitutional parliamentary democracy,  our system of government is a representative democracy, and the basis of representative democracy is government by consent – people consent leaders by voting them into parliament to represent them.

“So, we view this as a serious breach of trust with people, but it does not surprise us because this is the government that loses the trust of people in this country,” Wale said.

However, Kabui argue that if you at preamble of Constitution, it starts with all powers belong to the people, but vested in the Executive, Judiciary and legislator

He said people exercised power during election day and chose people to represent them in Parliament.

“And once they become ministers or part of Cabinet then they represent them in Cabinet as well.

“So, the three arms of Government are established by Constitution, Cabinet is responsible to Parliament,” he explained.

But Kabui said Cabinet has the legal mandate to make policy while Parliament was mandated to make laws.

“These legal mandates are given to them on elections day.

“Which means whenever Cabinet likes to come up with any government policies where it thinks fit, they have the mandate of the people by way of being elected, which is the Executive,” he said.

“That is how government makes policies, no need to go back to people every time it wants to change its policies,” he said.

In the current proposal, Kabui said the Government has consulted with the Premiers, Solomon Islands Christian Association, Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association and Solomon Islands Chambers of Commerce and Industries.

Furthermore, Kabui said it is constitutional because it provides for Parliament mandate to make laws in Section 59, while Section 61 provides for the alteration of the Constitution.

He said since independence, Government has made 10 Constitutional changes.

Parliament will need two thirds majority to amend the clause in the Constitution.

The current Sogavare government has the number to do that.