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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 2) – An academic says Solomon Islands parliamentarians are not doing enough as lawmakers, describing their 25 days a year average meeting record as insufficient.

Professor Graham Hassall of the University of South Pacific said parliament has to evolve in order to maximize the capacity of the Members of Parliament.

"That has yet to happen in the Solomon Islands," the professor told the Solomon Star yesterday after addressing the Members of Parliament in the third day of their Induction Workshop.

Professor Hassall said there is a lot more to be done by parliamentarians and the 25 days per year sitting is not enough.

He said sitting time is required if Members of Parliament are to fully maximize their duty as law markers.

The lecturer said parliamentarians are public servants and they are voted in to make laws.

"If they are not having enough meetings, then what are they doing for the four years," the professor asked.

According to Professor Hassall, oversight is also vital in ensuring that government's mechanisms are properly monitored.

He said corruption and lack of diligence occur because of weaker oversight.

The professor cited the Fisheries audited report which revealed millions of dollars being lost through the government system as a classic example of a weak oversight.

The University of the South Pacific lecturer yesterday lectured the Members of Parliament about the Western Parliamentary system based on the British monarch.

He then suggested a multi-party government as an alternative to the Westminster system.

He told the Members of Parliament that in a Melanesian parliament there is a need to maximize the potential of the committee system and how to make best use of the talent in parliament.

Professor Hassall cited Fiji's experiment as an example where it allows supporters of all parties to have their views and policies considered within government and overcome opposition policies and focus on issues.

Meanwhile the academic said that the recent rioting by angry mobs after the outcome of the parliamentary election of Prime Minister Snyder Rini was a bad precedence.

He said there are better ways in which the people should vent their anger, not by directing it at shops in town.

The professor said such action could lead to mob rule, which is dangerous because it will easily lead to anarchy when there is no rule of law.

June 6, 2006

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