Gov’t may engage local to review federal constitution

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PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the government cannot engage an eminent consultant to look into the proposed Federal Constitution report due to the corona virus.

As such, Sogavare said the government is thinking of engaging a local consultant to look at it.

Initially, the Government has engaged eminent constitutional scholar, Professor Yash Ghai to review the draft Federal Constitution.

Former Prime Minister, Rick Hou said he supported the idea to look at the report to see whether this system fits the country.

However, he was worried to see the report took 10 years to complete and costs about $200 million.

Hou said the people involved in the formulation of the report have outstanding claims of $30 million as well.

He said it is important to give timeline to people engage in the work.

However, Sogavare said the idea for the state government was stated in the Mamaloni report.

This was after the Peoples Alliance Party won a landslide victory and promised to establish Federal Government.

“We need to come up with solutions to address these costs.
“We need to think for other ways under existing system and structures,” he said.

Member of Parliament for East Are Are, Peter Kenilorea Junior asked if the idea to extend Parliament is to consider the Federal System.

Sogavare said there are issues that he is not prepared to discuss as consultation is still ongoing.

Island Sun understand to pass the Federal System, it will need two thirds of Parliamentary support.

The development of the draft Federal constitution started in 2004 with support from UNDP but the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands resisted it the grounds of cost.

Consultation started again in 2009 but could not reach any resolution.

The Constitutional Reform Unit in the Office of Prime Minister continued the work on the draft Federal report in 2011 and 2014.

The push for the change of governing system came about after bigger provinces like Western Province and Guadalcanal argued that most of the revenues in the National budget derived from their resources.

However, there were fears that smaller provinces like Rennell and Bellona and Temotu outer islands maybe victims if the country changes from this unitary system to proposed Federal system of governance because they have limited resources.


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