Solomons PM Accuses Opposition Of Hijacking Parliament

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Opposition calls for more time to review 2013 budget report

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 18, 2012) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo accused the Opposition of hijacking the Parliamentary process yesterday in the Solomon Islands.

This came after Opposition Leader Dr. Derek Sikua and his deputy, Mathew Wale, questioned the Government to allow the debate of the 2013 budget to continue and conclude yesterday afternoon.

This was after they received the report of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over the 2013 budget estimate less than an hour before debate would commence.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Job Duddley Tausinga made a ruling by using his powers to suspend the debate until this morning after coming back from a 15 minutes break.

This followed a heated debate by Prime Minister Lilo and Opposition group over the timing to continue debating the budget.

"Both [the] Opposition leader and your deputy have hijacked Parliament. It was garbage you (Opposition) did," PM Lilo said angrily, as he walked out of the Parliamentary chambers.

PM Lilo said the Government business for debate to commence and conclude was still in order because the Minister of Finance had tabled it last week which should have allowed time for MPs to read through it.

He said the recurrent and development budget took up the 80 percent of the budget which, if MPs read them, they should have been familiarized with the budget already.

However, Dr. Sikua said they want to go through the PAC report first to factor in their budget speech before debate can commence.

As a result of the ruling by Tausinga, Members of Parliament will have only three days to debate the SB$3.6 billion [US$486.4 million] dollar budget, before it goes through committee of supply and pass through third reading.

Also the Prime Minister will have to adjust statement of Government business for the week ending Friday 21 December 2012 after the debate did not commence and conclude yesterday.

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