𝗚𝗣 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗠𝗣𝗚𝗜𝗦 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗜𝘁𝘀 𝟭𝟬 𝗢𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀
The Guadalcanal Province Executive (GPE) have responded to a media statement by the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) concerning the GPEs’ resolution for the MPGIS.
The GPE last week boycotted a Public Expenditure Management (PEM) and Financial Management Workshop conducted by the MPGIS and submitted a paper outlining several resolutions for the MPGIS to deliberate on.
Among the issues outlined by the GPE and sighted by SIBC was the delay in gazetting its 10 Ordinances.
MPGIS in its media statement stated that the 10 Ordinances were sent to the MPGIS Minister for assenting without them being vetted by the Attorney General Chambers.
It stated that the full vetting of the Ordinances is still required and the MPGIS have held meetings with the Guadalcanal Province Premier advising him to Liaise with the Attorney General’s office draftsperson.
Speaking to SIBC, Minister for Finance Andrew Tahisihaka delivered the GPEs’ response that they acknowledged the MPGIS response and clarified that in relation to the Ordinances, the GPE has complied with the provisions provided for under schedule 3 of the Provincial Government Act 1997 and Standing Orders.
Mr Tahisihaka said it is the MPGIS that has not followed the provision under S.32 of the PGA1997, which relates to the withholding of assent by the Minister of MPGIS.
“ In accordance with this section, where the Minister is of the opinion that any provision of a proposed ordinance does not comply with this section, the Minister is required to follow the procedure laid down in subsection (2) and lay a copy of the proposed ordinance before the Parliament, together with the statement of policy with which in the Minister’s opinion conflicts and move a motion in Parliament that the proposed ordinance be disallowed.
It is also important to point out that an administrative directive cannot override the provisions of the PGA1997 or any other Act of Parliament.
The circular issued to the Ministries by the Attorney General’s office in relation to drafting of bills, does not mention ordinances.
It is a matter of concern to GPG and other provinces that AG Chambers do not have the capacity to handle the drafting of all ordinances,” Mr Tahisihaka.
He also stated that the GPG can confirm that at several meetings and consultations conducted with the Attorney General’s office, the Attorney General himself confirmed the lack of capacity.
“GPG has questioned the legality of the current vetting process which seems to be the reason for the delay.
The directive by MPGIS for re-drafting and re-submission of the 10 ordinances by the Attorney General’s Office to the Guadalcanal Province Assembly raises a number of legal issues which may ultimately result in seeking judicial redress.
It appears that MPGIS is attempting to undermine the powers that have been devolved under the Devolution Order. The prime objective under the PGA1997 is to give effect to devolution of powers to the provinces, in keeping with the preamble to the Constitution,” he added.
The Provincial Minister said the defensiveness of MPGIS and its attitude and actions towards the provinces is regrettable and believed that as a province, it must continue to raise the issues affecting its MPA’s and the people of Guadalcanal.
“In spite of numerous requests, MPGIS has failed so far to take meaningful steps or action to review the PGA1997 and devolve more power to all the provinces.
GPG in this statement wish to emphasize and reiterate that in light of these experiences, the call for greater autonomy under the Townsville Peace Agreement (TPA) for Guadalcanal and Malaita Provinces is becoming more important and urgent and the meaningful steps be taken to bring before Parliament the Bill relating to State Government,” he said.
By Eliza Kukutu