BY SAMIE WAIKORI
Premier Daniel Suidani’s MARA government is still intact and commands the majority in the Malaita provincial assembly.
Deputy premier Glenn Waneta says this amid public rumours that some members of the executive have defected to the non-executive.
“The MARA government is still with the majority of 17 MPAs with no single deserter as reported, while the non-executive with 16 MPAs and the matter with regards to the vote is worth clarification.”
Deputy Premier Waneta made the statement yesterday to clear confusion and importantly to distinguish between the “$24m revised budget” and “budget speech”.
He explained that the budget which was voted for as referred to, was the budget speech read by the finance minister and not the $24 million revised budget.
Waneta, who is serving his fourth term in politics, added that after the Minister read the budget speech, it will go through the first, second reading, committee stage and the final reading.
He furthered during the final reading as provided under the ordinance, if the budget is rejected by vote, then it will not be passed as referred to.
“For this case, after the minister presented the budget speech on Monday, it put for debate in which we debated it on Wednesday and then the minister wind-up the debate.
“After then, the speaker called to vote for the speech in which we did as only practice.
“For clarity, there is nowhere under the standing order has provided for voting for speeches, whether the premier or finance minister speeches.
“It only used as practice, but it’s illegal since it has no provision for under the standing order.
“The reason for that is these speeches are not ordinance. So, whether you like the speeches or not, they are just speeches and should not be voted,” Waneta said.
He said with regards to the budget, they are yet to go through it and it’s too early to make “yes or no” decision on the budget.
“In short, the voting happened was only for the finance minister’s speech and not the $24 million revised budget,” Waneta explained.
He said should there be voting for the $24 million revised budget, the executive government has the number and they will definitely pass the budget.
Waneta said reason the executive was not in number during the budget speech vote was due to some of their MPAs were on compassionate leave, but again whether defeat or not, the vote will not affect the budget.