Pandemic bill awaits provincial consultation

Solomon Islands National Parliament
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THE Public Emergency Bill is currently waiting on consultations which are being held in the provinces.

Attorney General John Muria Junior says consultations have been done in Guadalcanal Province, Honiara City Council (HCC), and with diplomatic missions, regional originations and private sector like the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) and a number of business houses in town.

“This week consultation for some of the provinces especially, Isabel, Central Makira, Temotu and our churches SIFGA and SICA will be done.

“Consultation for provinces was delayed and has not permitted us to bring our provincial representatives to Honiara due to bad weather. After that we will wrap up our consultations,” he said.

Dr Jimmie Rodgers, deputy secretary to Oversight Committee and Secretary to Prime Minister, said they are looking forward to finalising the bill to be tabled in parliament.

Rodgers said when this State of Public Emergency finishes on March 24, the Pandemic Bill should become an Act “where it commences and it will progress on from there”.

“This means we do not need to declare another State of Public Emergency.

“Just to clarify, we need the SOPE we can actually quarantine people and until the World is free of COVID-19, we will still need to quarantine people and that is the purpose of this pandemic bill and why we are working to ensure its ready by then,” he said.

The statement was echoed at the recent covid-19 radio talkback in Honiara.