SELESO’S MISTAKE

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Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Rollen Seleso
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Western province suffers 6 months of limbo, MPGIS admits wrong decision

BY BEN BILUA

Just a week before provincial elections and the Western province is being told it was wronged by the national government.

The province had to endure six months of no provincial leadership.

Government now admits that its decision to dissolve the Western provincial executive on June 13 this year is null and void.

The Ministry of provincial government and institutional strengthening (MPGIS) is reportedly working to resolve this mistake.

On June 13, Minister of MPGIS Rollen Seleso ordered Western and Choiseul provincial executives to be dissolved while giving directives for the two provinces’ admins to take the lead in provincial business.

The Order was legalised by a Gazette Order.

Following the Gazette Order, Western provincial executive led by their Speaker Adrian Gina questioned the Ministry based on the legality of the decision.

Correspondence went back and forth until MPGIS became silent.

Six months after the gazette order, MPGIS with the help of the Attorney General’s Office realised that there were faults and that part of the gazette order was null and void.

Seleso confirmed to Speaker Gina that the decision was unprecedented and that a revised gazette order will be made to set a precedent for future circumstances. 

According to reports, a revised gazette order was published yesterday.

Report states, the revised gazette order will to allow the executive government to act as caretaker until new government is formalised early next year – Meaning former Premier, Christian Mesepitu will perform his role as caretaker premier until a new government is formed on the 4th of January 2023 while former executives will be compensated – Backdate all their entitlements since the immature gazette order was made by Minister of Province Government on June 13.

In an interview with Island Sun Gizo, Gina said the full executive will not be able to take up their role as election’s fixed date is on 14th of this month which is Wednesday next week.

“They don’t revoke the whole gazette order but part that will allow Western Provincial Executive to reinstate and perform their duties as caretaker government.

“I believe revised gazette order will replace the word ‘dissolve’ and insert ‘caretaker’. That is my best guess because I’m yet to see the revised gazette order documents.

“So, in practical, Mesepitu will hold on to power until the next government is formed after the election, then formally hand over the power to the new premier.

“For the executives, they will be compensated,” he explained.

Gina said MPGIS has “messed things up for Western Province”.

“This is the issue that I questioned prior to the June 13th Gazette Order. My correspondence with ministry and Attorney General was to allow the executive to act as caretaker until new government comes in but my argument was rejected.

“Western Province had suffered for six months because of this unfounded decision.

“Business houses suffered as well as the people,” he said.

Outspoken leader of Western Province, Freedom Tozaka shared similar sentiments saying that the Ministry of Provincial Government has been toying with the people of Western Province.

“This is a good reminder for the government to stop jumping the gun.

“Our people have been suffering for six months because of our leaders’ ignorance and this is not a good precedence,” he said.


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