‘It must be fulfilled within this nation’: public prioritises ACB

Members of civil society march to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to deliver a petition on retabling the anti-corruption bill on Sep. 19

As nomination papers are being accepted for the election of a new Prime Minister next week, Solomon Islanders are thinking about the next government, its priorities — and the anti-corruption bill.

The anti-corruption bill, which the public pushed to be reintroduced in Parliament after its withdrawal in August, remains a concern for many.

According to Tony Kedeau of Fataleka, East Malaita, the government that comes into power next week should focus on passing and implementing the anti-corruption bill.

To him, the bill is moving through Parliament too slowly.

“I think it’s better that government, if you know it’s the right thing for Solomon Islands, then do it now,” Mr Kedeau said of passing the bill. “Don’t prolong it more.”

He said revisions to the bill are worrying, and instability at the highest levels of the government is not a good sign for the bill’s future.

Mr Kedeau wants national leaders to assure citizens that the bill will continue through the Parliamentary process.

And he wants them to listen to citizens’ requests to pass it.

“We’ve been praying a lot about this anti-corruption bill,” he said. “It must be fulfilled within this nation.”

Civil society organisations’ Anti-Corruption Bill Committee, which has led the push to hold leaders accountable for their promises to back the bill, has said it will not stop until it is passed.

The committee commended the public for supporting its efforts after the revised anti-corruption bill was tabled in Parliament for its first reading on Monday, October 30.

But the committee was disappointed that it was not consulted during the process of reintroducing the bill, as the now-caretaker Democratic Coalition for Change Government promised it would be.

Nevertheless, chairman Dr Huddie Namo said the committee will continue to monitor the progress of the Anti-Corruption Bill 2017 to ensure it is not withdrawn from Parliament.

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