TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands (TSI) is deeply concerned after being informed by the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet that the ill-informed/ill-conceived Traditional Governance Bill 2018 will go before the parliament during this sitting.
TSI is of the view that should Solomon Islands government be serious about building a cohesive and vibrant peaceful society and grow the economy and the human resources of Solomon Islands, this bill will do the opposite.
TSI calls on the Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change (DCCG) Government to delay this bill and carry out much wider inclusive consultation throughout the country first.
TSI is of the opinion, that the consultation SIDCCG did early this year is very selective and not inclusive.
It has ill-informed the bill and unfair because it targets specific groups of people that would agree with it and also benefit from it, and excludes women, elders of the communities who are not chiefs, youth and all members of the community.
It was mostly just chiefs. Whilst they may benefit from the foreign structure suggested, most chiefs will fall through the cracks because there is only so many that can sit in these structures.
Guadalcanal chiefs are yet to be consulted and why the rush?
Transparency Solomon Islands urges the government to accommodate or allow people with opposing views to be heard during consultation and not just what the drafters want them to hear. This is what informed decision is about.
“If this bill ends up as law it will weaken and eventually wears away the leadership systems in rural Solomon Islands, a leadership system that is inclusive and appropriate for the communities, tribes where these are accepted by them according to their tradition and practices,” TSI said.
TSI is of the opinion that when it comes to land, the proposed bill is gender biased and does not accord women the importance that custom accords them in land matters.
“As per our argument previously on this same issue, a possible solution to what this drafting instruction is trying to address is to assist tribes/communities to improve their own structures under the current legislation and the constitution.”
“The end result of the bill would be thoroughly subjected to Central Government control and regulations and call on right thinking Solomon Islanders to raise your concern on this proposed bill.” TSI said.
Transparency Solomon Islands understands government frustration when more than 80 percent of land in this country is customary land and does not directly accessible to the government for its development plans.