Parliament to reconvene for emergency meeting next week

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Solomon Islands National Parliament
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By EDDIE OSIFELO

PARLIAMENT will reconvene on Monday, April 6 to discuss the extension of the State of Emergency to four months.

This is part of the emergency meeting recalled by Speaker Patterson Oti after Governor General Sir David Vunagi declared the State of Public Emergency on Wednesday, March 25 due to the threat of coronavirus on national security.

Clerk to Parliament David Kusilifu said the date was agreed after Speaker Oti met with government officials yesterday.

Kusilifu said he would inform Members of Parliament yesterday to attend the meeting next Monday.

Parliament will need two thirds of the 50 seats which is around 33 to pass a resolution to extend the period of the State of Emergency (SOE) to four months

A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions or impose policies that it would normally not be permitted to undertake.

A government can declare such a state during a natural disaster, medical pandemic/epidemic, civil unrest, or armed conflict.

Such declarations are designed to alert citizens to change their normal behaviour and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans.

Under our Constitution, a State of Public Emergency is a declaration made by His Excellency, the Governor-General pursuant to Section 16(2) of the Constitution.

The declaration under the Constitution invokes the Emergency Powers Act [cap 11], which provides that the Governor-General may make regulations as appear to him to be reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists in Solomon Islands.

This was the second SOE in 20 years after former Governor General Sir John Lapli declared it in 2000 following the ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal.

After the meeting, Parliament will adjourn to Monday, July 27 following the special adjournment motion moved by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on March 20, 2020.

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