Government reshuffles ministers ahead of Christmas
By EDDIE OSIFELO
THE Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) has made another ministerial reshuffle this week before Christmas period.
This is the second reshuffle this year after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare removed two ministers, Augustine Auga and William Marau and reshuffled two others Ishmael Avui and Mewa in the first major “cabinet shakeup”.
Sources confirmed Environment Minister Dickson Mua, who was recently reshuffled from the Ministry of Health, has been again moved to Ministry of Forest and Research, replacing Commins Mewa.
Mewa has been demoted to Chairman of Education and Human Resources Training Committee in Parliament, replacing Titus Fika.
Fika is the newly appointed Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology.
Both Mua and Fika were sworn in at the Government House on Monday.
Inside sources claimed Mua was reshuffled from Environment Ministry after he did not give consent for mining on Wagina, which Caucus was not happy about.
Last month Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) commended Mua for dismissing the appeal by Solomon Bauxite Limited – Wagina Bauxite Mining against the decision of the Environment Advisory Committee.
Tebukewa Mereki on behalf of the Wagina Island Residents appealed through the Public Solicitors Office to the Environment Advisory Committee that the Director of Environment did not have the power under section 24(3) to issue the development consent to Solomon Bauxite Limited – Wagina Bauxite Mining.
After hearing the appeal, the Environment Advisory Committee based on submissions and other information provided to it made the following decision:
1. Legislative Procedure for public consultation and the publication of the EIS were not followed.
2. That whilst the EIS submitted met the requirements of the Environment Act 1998, in substance it is but a mere listing and cursory treatment of the requirements of the Act and Regulations. It did not provide acceptable levels of measurable impacts based on rigorous and referenced science and best practice.
3. EIS fails to meet the requirement of the Environment Act 1998 and Regulations 2008.
4. Decision to issue development consent is inconsistent with the Convention and Biological Diversity and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
5. The Environment Advisory Committee substituted their decision for the decision of the Director of Environment to revoke the Development Consent to Solomon Bauxite Limited.
TSI said this decision of Mua and the Environment Advisory Committee have created a ray of hope for the resource owners of this country, builds some level of trust in the public institutions of this country.
Mua told Island Sun he received his letter on Sunday 3pm.
He said reshuffle is to effect government policies, as such it is important.
“I humbly accept the call and to give way for a new minister.
“We serve the country thus accept when called on to move. It was the choice of the groups within so I humbly accept it,” he said.
Island Sun could not contact Fika to get his comment on his new appointment.
In April, MP for North Malaita, Senley Filualea replaced Auga, while Ishmael Avui replaced Marau.
Later, Commins Mewa replaced Avui as Forestry minister and MP Gizo Kolombangara, Lanelle Tanangada replaced Mewa as Education Minister.
Island Sun understands MPs who are heading Government Parliamentary Committees are enjoying almost similar parliamentary privileges accorded to cabinet ministers.
So they may have lost their ministerial titles but not their perks.