Reparation may not make it in the 10th parliament

By Gary Hatigeva

THE current Government’s efforts to put in place a new legislation on its reparation policy intent, may not make parliament for the last set of sittings when the house resumes at the end of this month.

The Reparation policy intention looks to provide a guideline for the national government to design an inclusive policy and legislation to address issues that gave rise to the ethnic tensions from 1998 to 2003 including impacts of the subsequence violence as well as the Bougainville crisis.

Reparation according to government officials comes as an important component of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report.

The Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) had initiated for this bill to be realised before the 10th Parliament House is dissolved, but insiders say this may not happen due to the little time in hand.

The SIDCCG was looking to introduce a legal framework on the reparation as an avenue to help those affected in the ethnic tension and Bougainville crisis, and bring a once broken society to live in genuine peace.

Only at its workshop and awareness stage and those responsible for coming up with a bill on it, are worried it may not be completed before parliament is reconvened.

They revealed that the team working on the reparation policy, was looking to bring a bill on it in for the November sitting, but shared that with the little time left, intentions for the proposed reparation legislation may likely be put forward for the next house.

They added that the issue surrounding allocations of funds for the bill to be realised particularly, in the phases involved, which includes it being put for consultation, and compiled, are but some of the factors

“These are some of the obvious factors that might not allow for this important bill to be put in for the last sittings of the 10th house”.

Insiders told Island Sun that the government particularly, the Ministry of National Unity, Peace and Reconciliation will require around $3 million to run the consultation phase of the reparation if it is drawn into a bill.

At its current phase, the awareness programme on this policy intent is funded by the United Nations Peace Building project through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the UN Women with the support of the Solomon Islands government.

Those involved in the policy were out in the Western, Choiseul, Malaita and Guadalcanal Provinces last month, holding awareness programmes on this bill, with hopes to gage people’s views on it, for the documentation of the proposed legislation.

Meanwhile, insiders also revealed that based on recommendations made, suggesting for the government through the responsible ministry, not to rush the bill and allow for it to be thoroughly covered and put together.

Around seven bills, including the 2019 Appropriation Bill are expected to be tabled when parliament resumes on the 31st of this month, which is expected to run through November and winds up in on the 17th of December.

However, some of the bills set to be put in for parliament’s deliberation are also in doubt due to what has been described as, lacking proper consultations.

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