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The province had earlier rejected the proposal

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 14, 2008) – Solomon Islands’ Western Province has criticised the Ministry of Provincial Government for trying to get its provincial government to endorse a rejected 2004 Draft Federal Constitution.

Deputy premier and provincial Minister for State Government Oliver Zapo said recently the Ministry of Provincial Government sent a copy of the draft report.

"It was a copy of the 2004 audited version of the draft federal Constitution which we have already rejected. But the ministry sent it back to us and urged us to endorse it," Mr Zapo said.

After deliberating on the matter, he said the provincial executive rejected it.

"We have already earlier rejected the draft federal constitution during our leaders’ meeting in Gizo 2005. So we don’t know why audited it and sent it back to us. I also can’t understand why my province is asked to endorse it while other provinces are yet to put their positions in relation to the constitution."

He said he was really disappointed by the way the Ministry of Provincial Government is forcing his province into agreeing with the draft federal constitution.

Mr Zapo said the auditing had been carried out by a group of lawyers in Wellington, New Zealand.

He said the Solomon Islands Federal Constitution was supposed to be drafted after the members of the National Constitutional Congress and the Eminent Persons Advisory Council had completed their task in the later parts of 2008.

"The position of Western Provincial Government on the Federalism is, we want a genuine Federal System of Government that will grant the highest level of political autonomy to it.

"Also the National Government must come clear on its action and commitment to the Federal System of Government in the Solomon Islands," he said.

Attempts to talk to the Minister for Provincial Government, David Day Pacha yesterday were unsuccessful.

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