BY SAMIE WAIKORI
Malaita premier Daniel Suidani has called for the swearing in of the newly appointed deputy premier, Glen Waneta.
This call goes head-on with an advice by the Attorney General that Premier Suidani’s recent removal of his former deputy, Randol Sifoni, was Ultra Vires.
In labelling Suidani’s act as Ultra Vires, AG John Muria Jnr is claiming that the Premier does not have the power to do what he did.
However, in response to AG’s letter, Suidani wrote a letter dated August 26, 2021, advising the speaker of Malaita provincial assembly to go ahead and swear-in the new deputy.
Premier Suidani made the following points;
1. My decision of 23 August 2021 to reduce the composition of the Malaita Provincial Government Executive from 17 to 16, which resulted in Hon Randal Sifoni being
a. relieved of his duty as Minister and
b. relieved of his duty as Deputy Premier remains in effect.
2. My decision was based on power vested on me as Premier under sections 20 and 21 of the Provincial Government Act (PGA) and this remains in order until anyone has taken that to Court and the Court declares otherwise.
3. I exercise my power under the principle that any exercise of power by the person holding the power is assumed to be in order unless reversed by the High Court. In this case, my action as Premier is valid and effective until anyone has challenged that in the High Court and the High Court declares it to be invalid.
5. The Malaita Provincial Government Executive members are to continue performing their function unless a High Court order declares that they should stop.
6. At this stage, the Attorney General’s advice or indeed any advice by anyone is a mere opinion and cannot form an injunction against the implementation of the actions determined by the Premier.
7. The removed Minister and Deputy Premier, Hon Randal Sifoni, is encouraged to take up the matter at court if he feels that his rights are unlawfully or unfairly interfered with.
8. In absent of an order from the High Court on that, Hon Randal Sifoni has been effectively terminated and no longer has any power to exercise in that capacity. Any attempt by Hon Sifoni to remain in office is null and without legal basis.
9. As required by the PGA, I have advised the Minister of MPGIS that Hon. Glen Waneta will take up the role of Deputy Premier. The Minister of MPGIS as required by the PGA section 20(4) must make the appointment in accordance with the advice from the Premier.
10. The Police must maintain order and preserve the integrity of the Malaita Provincial Government.
11. I therefore request that you administer the Oath of Office to Hon Glen Waneta MPA for ward 8 as the new Deputy Premier of Malaita Provincial Government.
In a separate statement Suidani referred to AG’s letter as his own legal opinion, and “he should take the matter to the High Court so that the High Court can decide on the question of whether the Premier has acted outside or beyond his power.
“Alternatively, Hon Sifoni can challenge the Premier’s decision in court if he feels his right was denied or he was unfairly removed from office.
“In the absence of a High Court ruling the Premier’s exercise of the ‘power to remove’ his provincial Minister who is also the Deputy Premier is deemed effective.”