BREAKING NEWS

Government not aware of Guadalcanal Affairs Bill 2021

The Government Caucus and Cabinet have no knowledge about or aware of the circulated Guadalcanal Affairs Bill 2021. 

Special Secretary to Prime Minister Albert Kabui

Special Secretary to the Prime Minister (SSPM) Albert Kabui was bemused when he was questioned about the Guadalcanal Affairs Bill 2021 that attracted hundreds of commentators on social media this week.  

Speaking to journalists during PMO-organised press conference this afternoon, Mr Kabui categorically denied any such Bill had reached the Government Caucus and Cabinet.   

“I don’t know which Bill is that. Officially, the Government did not receive anything about the said Bill,” he said.

Kabui said from 2019 to 2021, the Governor General did not announce any Guadalcanal Affairs Bill that is before the Government’s legislative calendar.

“At the beginning of each year, when His Excellency the Governor General opened the National Parliament with the Speech from the Throne, he usually announced the legislative calendar or program of the Government for each year.

“On 16 March this year, during his speech from the Throne, he announced Bills that were on active file at the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“Only the Bills that the Government announces are Bills that the government is working on. If you go back and look at that, there was no Guadalcanal Affairs Bill on that. 

“I can categorically say that no such Bill as the Guadalcanal Affairs Bill reached the Caucus or Cabinet,” he said.

SSPM Mr Kabui speaking

According to the purported draft Bill as sighted by SIBC News, its purpose is to;

(a) to recognise, participate and involve in policies, laws and decision makings when dealing with Guadalcanal Affairs;

(b) to deal with the affairs of the Guadalcanal which includes Guadalcanal land, sea, forest resources, water resources, mineral resources, environment, traditional knowledge and development, climate change and natural disaster and anti-corruption and any matters relating to the Guadalcanal;

(c) to establish the Council of Chiefs to oversee the Guadalcanal affairs;

(d) to establish a Board to oversee and stimulate Guadalcanal affairs; and 

(e) to strengthen and empower the existing traditional groupings of the Guadalcanals, church, women, men, youth, and traditional tribal leaders within the Guadalcanal region.

A local prominent lawyer posted on social media saying the Bill is DCGA Government’s work to demobilize Guadalcanal province and its government to mere bystanders soon.

The lawyer said, if enacted,the Bill will seriously undermine the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly and its law making powers under the Provincial Government Act 1997( PGA).

“Likewise this Bill is a threat to the functions of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government as devolved under the PGA. 

“Just reading the purpose of the Bill as stipulated under clause 4 of Bill, one can easily conclude the demobilization of Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly and its provincial government has begun,” the prominent lawyer said. 

But when asked if the Bill was leaked to the public, the SSPM adamantly replied: “I don’t know if there was any ministry responsible for it, I can’t speculate, but I can categorically say there was never such a Bill that had reached the Government Caucus and Cabinet.”

by Jared Koli

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