Guadalcanal post-conflict group gives PM Sogavare March ultimatum
By EDDIE OSIFELO
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is being called on to table the federal constitution bill in the next parliament sitting – in March.
Guadalcanal Post-Conflict, Reconciliation Rehabilitation and Restoration Association (GPCRRRA) has petitioned that the new Federal Constitution of Solomon Islands be tabled in Parliament in the March sitting.
GPCRRRA says it will not accept another promise or deferment by prime minister Sogavare and his DCGA government.
Sogavare deferred the tabling of the Bill twice last year.
He promised the Guadalcanal people a timeline until 2026 to finalise all arrangements and see the system fully implemented.
Speaking during their meeting at Kakabona, West Honiara yesterday, President of Gaena’alu Movement and Member of Provincial Assembly for Moli (ward 10), Jerry Sabino said ‘time for talking is over, they want to see action now’.
Sabino said this Government has a two-third majority to change the Constitution in Parliament.
“We cannot wait for 2026 because of Solomon Islands political history of seeing coalition government formed after elections.
“Our hope is with this government because they have the number now to do anything,” he said.
Sabino said they do not want to see the tabling of the Federal Constitution drag like the Townsville Peace Agreement that was never implemented after the signing in 2000.
He said every province has given their inputs in the draft Federal Constitution.
Sabino said all the provinces want to see the unitary system under the current Constitution given by Great Britain in 1978 abolished.
Furthermore, former commander of Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army, Andrew Te’e supported Sabino’s stand to see the current Constitution change.
He said the Queen of England has passed away, so the law of England must also go away.
“We need a constitution in the country that is homegrown and represents the wishes of indigenous people.
“The Constitution is good for people holding power but not for people at the grassroots,” he said.
Te’e also believes the Constitution is only good for the Chinese, “it really kills and steals us”.
Other members of GPCRRRA namely Michael Kelly of Goldridge, Patrick Tuna of Malango, Bernard Sopoua of Kongulai, George Hilly and John Damusi support the notion for the Bill to be tabled in the March sitting.
At the end of their meeting, they passed a resolution for Te’e and Sabino to consult with Member of East Guadalcanal and Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Bradley Tovosia, to agree on the date to meet with them.
Tovosia will then consult other six MPs in the Government and one in Opposition to attend the proposed meeting scheduled for next week.
During the meeting, they will invite PM Sogavare to attend to hear the petition of the Guadalcanal people.
Island Sun understands the Constitutional Congress, (CC) and Eminent Persons Advisory Council (EPAC) within the Constitutional Reform Unit (CRU) have completed the “Final (Clean) Draft” of the Federal constitution for Solomon Islands in 2019.
Sogavare told Parliament last December to table the draft Federal Constitution and the Truth and Reconciliation in this March’s sitting.