BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
Ontong Java and Tikopia have not had any court visit for the last 16 years.
Chief Magistrate Emma Garo revealed this during the Public Accounts Committee hearing last week.
She said they have not managed to visit the two outliers due to funding.
“We haven’t visited the Malaita Outer Islands, Sikaiana, Lordhowe, Tikopia and Anuta for almost 16 years now.
“It would be fair for them to say is the Justice system only for those in Honiara, we have not managed to do that because of lack of funding, so it’s a challenge for us to organise and visit these areas.”
Ms Garo said the Magistracy have visited almost all the centres throughout the country and in terms of its performance in 2020 all courts from Western, Makira, Auki and Honiara hit more than 100 percent disposal rate for all cases civil, criminal and customary land appeal court.
She said they have brought those courts to a manageable level and want the government to maintain the effective performing level of the court to avoid going back to backlog of cases, because the challenge faced is funding to maintain the courts.
Garo said in this year’s budget they have been allocated with only $915,711 for the court circuits and CLAC and compared to 2020 budget this year’s budget has been reduced to 142 percent of last year’s budget.
She also said that their budget for this year was around $2million, calculated by their office managers, however that budget was reduced and she also posed a question whether those who do the budget-cut know better than those office managers who are based in the field.