Draft federal constitution nears completion

Director of Constitutional Reform Unit, Philip Houlia
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Director of Constitutional Reform Unit, Philip Houlia

THE process towards finalising the Solomon Islands Draft Federal Constitution is nearing completion.

The Constitutional Reform Unit (CRU) in the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has been assigned to oversee the lengthy process of nationwide consultations together with the drafting process over the past 10 years.

Director of the Constitutional Reform Unit, Philip Houlia said legal and technical issues surrounding the draft have been addressed by the Government’s Draftsman and the edited document is now returned to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The remaining task now is for the Constitutional Congress and Eminent Advisory Council to endorse and hand over the document to the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs sometime in May or June this year.

The Prime Minister will take the document to Caucus to be noted and endorsed by Cabinet with the possibility of tabling it in Parliament during the November 2018 Sitting.

Other minor tasks currently pursued by the CRU is to engage an international expert to carry out a Cost Benefit Evaluation of the two governing systems, which is the current Unitary System and the proposed Federal System of Government.

“Currently, an expert has been identified and work is being progressed to engage him. Once formalities are completed, he should start the work as soon as possible,” Mr Houlia said.

A nationwide promotion and awareness of the Draft Federal Constitution will also begin as soon as the 2018 budget is passed.

Key stakeholders in the process including the Constitutional Review Committee of Parliament, the Law Reform Commission, the national judiciary, provincial premiers and others will be informed during the process.