KEMAKEZA PROMISES TO CONVENE SOLOMONS PARLIAMENT

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, April 28) - Prime Minister,
Allan Kemakeza says the Solomon Islands government will set a date for the next
sitting of parliament after it receives feedback from Parliament and the Office
of Prime Minister.

Kemakeza said he requested the Clerk to Parliament and his own
office to look into the prospect of an early parliament meeting by May or June
of this year.

The meeting would be the first time the Solomon Islands
Parliament has convened this year, a point of heavy criticism by those in the
opposition.

The Prime Minister denied recent claims by the member of
parliament for east Choiseul, Manasseh Sogavare, that the government was using
delaying tactics.

Kemakeza said he is just as eager as anyone else to have an
early sitting of parliament.

The Prime Minister said the main issue government wants to
present to parliament is the draft Federal Constitution for the proposed State
Government System.

The draft, submitted early this month, was overseen by the
United Nations Development Program and involved a community-based consultation
covering all nine provinces of the country.

Kemakeza said that while many are excited and eager to see the
system take off, it would only be fair that various government committees
working on the draft be given more time to do a better job rather than rush them
into an unfinished job.

He said the committees need more time to carry out consultative
tasks with the people so that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the
proposed system of Government.

The National Parliamentary Opposition says the government’s
reluctance to convene a session of parliament shows that it has lost its sense
of direction and respect for the country's democratic institutions, democratic
principles and the rule of law.

It said government's decision also ran counter to its own public
advocating of issues of good governance and transparency.

The Opposition said Solomon Islands is facing many critical
issues and difficult problems which could only be addressed by the National
Parliament.

It added that one of such problems is the need to address
government spending of public funds beyond the levels approved by parliament in
the 2003 appropriation act, and outside of the 2003 budget.

April 29, 2003

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation: http://www.sibconline.com.sb 

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