By EDDIE OSIFELO
SPECIAL Secretary to Prime Minister Albert Kabui still maintains his stand that Cabinet is still to make a decision to extend Parliament from 4 to 5 years.
This was after the Opposition Office hit back recently that it is a blatant lie after a Cabinet paper on the extension clearly shows that Cabinet had already ‘Agreed’ on the decision to extend parliament from four to five years in February 2021.
The Cabinet paper was also leaked on social media attracting a lot of criticisms against the government.
Kabui told media yesterday part C of the Cabinet paper or document directs him and Attorney General to do consultation.
He said the process is still ongoing.
“We have done consultations with all the Premiers, SIFGA, SICA and SICCI.
“After consultation we will go back to Cabinet. Nothing for us to hide here,” he said.
Further to that, Kabui said the Governor General in his Speech to the throne speech encouraged Members of Parliament to go back and do consultation with their people.
He said had Cabinet made a decision, they could draft the bill and take it up to Parliament.
Kabui said according to the Constitution it requires 6 weeks to lay on the table.
He said this is to give change for the Constitution Review Committee to consult with the people.
“Since it’s a Constitutional Amendment, need time longer than normal bill.
“This is check and balance Constitution provide for,” he added.
Kabui said if Cabinet made the decision, they would not need to consult.
According to Governor General Sir David Vunagi, the issue of deferment of the National General Election is an issue that was recently raised in the media.
There are four options available;
- Early dissolution of Parliament as early as May and hold a snap election.
- Hold the National General Election in 2023 as scheduled.
- Defer the National General Election from 2023 to 2024.
- Permanently increase the term of Parliament from four to five years.
Sir David said these options have their own implications.
“However, it is for Cabinet to decide.
“If Cabinet adopts either of options three or four the Constitution will have to be amended,” he said.
Sir David said the Constitution provides for its own alteration and it is Parliament that has the mandate to amend the Constitution.
“I trust that each Member of Parliament will consult and explain to their constituents their views on this matter.
“I will leave this matter to Cabinet and Parliament for their decision,” he added.