Electorates dismayed over delay and lack of quorum into ACB proceedings

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Inside the Solomon Islands National Parliament
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By Gary Hatigeva

WITH the passage of the proposed Anti-Corruption Bill (ACB) 2018 facing a slow and rough sailing process in Parliament, voters and a good number of anti-corruption advocates from various civil society organizations within the country are worried that it (bill) might get withdrawn again for the second time.

This came up after parliament was forced to adjourn all its sittings, including the scrutiny proceeding of the Bill, due to the lack of quorum due to a low attendance of MPs from both the opposition and government sides of the house.

But an advocator spoken to and wished not to be named said ur people are slowly losing patience and are now putting collective dismay and frustration over the delay of the passage of the ACB by parliament depriving the chance to make genuine service and development work for all of us.

She suggested that this piece of legislation have suffered serious setbacks especially in its crucial stage due to delays, unproductive interpellations, and the lack of quorum for the plenary deliberations to continue and members to perform their mandated duty of enacting the basic law.

“WaKe Up, DO YOUR JOB!”

She then suggested that time is running out for the ACB passage but a number of our honorable lawmakers are still ‘in a state of coma.’

Another advocator who also expressed views on unanimity grounds also stressed that the elected officials should realize that much is at stake in the ACB, “not only the future of the development, but the future of the whole country.

“So, to our to put it plain and clear, please wake up from your slumber, roll up your sleeves and pass the proposed law,” he added.

He then questioned what is there to legislate if the lawmakers don’t attend the committee proceedings and cannot even muster a quorum?

“For months now, empty black comfortable chairs dominate the parliament chamber, which is a sign that lawmakers do not see the urgency of this bill,” he further added.

Transmitted through various institutions and bodies, the original ACB draft in 2016 and 2017, both committees have already conducted separate public hearings into them, and advocators stressed that the government or the country cannot afford to take it back for anymore reviews as initial procedures involved, have already cost the country more than enough.

The group of Advocators however paid tribute to the thorough efforts of some members including some of their party groupings and leaders in trying to shepherd the ACB 2017 into fruition.

Their attempts however have been let down by either the lack of quorum or the political motives of some leaders within the current house.

Concerned advocators and a lot of unofficial but intending candidates have vowed to continuously push parliament to enact what they called a worthwhile and crucial piece of legislation, and asserted that any version of the ACB should be consistent with the spirit of a corrupt free society.

And, with a collaborative approach between the Solomon Islands government, its institutions, officials and the people who they suggested, to have suffered long enough in the face of corruption.

The group however reiterated that while they call for a compliant AC Bill, they also seek the faithfulness of all other stakeholders to put pressure on their respective leaders to ensure it is enacted for the country’s sake.

“We hope to see a passage of the ACB and one that adheres to the principles of the existing understandings and outcry of the people.

Parliament was only able to cover six clauses in yesterday’s sittings, bringing a total of sections covered, to 30 with a total of about 40 to go.

The house resumes today, and everyone is hoping to see that the highly anticipating and much talked about Bill is passed.

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