By Gary Hatigeva
THE Guadalcanal Provincial Executive has warned that the government must recognise the roles tribal chiefs and traditional leaders will play in the implementation of the Traditional Governance and Customs Facilitation Bill 2018, in terms of financial benefits if it becomes an Act, or risk wasting time and resources in trying to have it become law.
The Deputy Premier of Guadalcanal Province, Peter Araonisaka made these sentiments when appearing before the Bills and Legislation Committee at the hearing of the Traditional Governance Bill yesterday.
He shared that their provincial executive is happy to have been one of the first stakeholder involved in the initial consultations phases of the working committee from the Ministry on this bill.
“We have had the opportunity to sit in with them, we have seen the policy paper that lead to the formulation of this bill, and we have also had the chance to throw in some ideas when it was in its working stage,” the Deputy Premier said.
He however pointed out that while their executive agrees with the bill in principle, having looked through it, they now have some thoughts as to how effective the houses of chiefs will perform their roles, to implement the act when they are not given any form of recognition in terms of remunerations.
“Because based on the structure, the act provides for the national and provincial council of chiefs, and the house of chiefs, and if they are provided for in provisions of the act, then some form of recognition must come from the government’s purse in terms of remunerations, so it can help the chiefs to be effective in their works.
“Remunerations as such are mechanisms to drive people to effectively execute their duties and so it would be good that some reflection of such is highlighted in the act before we can make the other ordinances to guide the chiefs to make reference to that.
“Although there are powers, but we have not seen any provisions that make mention of remunerations or allowances in this act,” he stressed.
The Guadalcanal Leader further warned that for the government and the people to see this act function efficiently, all the houses of chiefs must be supported because the structure involving the chiefs and traditional leaders, is laid out under the bill, and therefore it requires for some provisions to spell out clearly that they must be supported.
“Not to get salaries but whenever they meet, they should get some sort of allowances, and in that way, we can expect to see them execute their roles effectively,” Araonisaka added.
He also stressed that as it is stated in the bill, with the Council of Chiefs, its Secretariat and Director will be taken on as public servants, who will be put before the public service commission and include them into the system.
Araonisaka further warned that from the norms of things, the chiefs on the ground whom we will rely on to be propelling the system from down the chain of the structure, if left out, we will not expect see big changes as is the goal of the act.
“We need to seriously look into this or else we will not see this piece of legislation working,” Deputy Premier Araonisaka said.