The one-day summit on the proposed Federal Constitution for Solomon Islands convened by the Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare for the country’s nine premiers and the Honiara City Mayor has successfully concluded the signing of a five-point communique called the ‘Honiara Communique.’
The Prime Minister and the Premiers and the City Mayor in the course of their conversation at the summit held at the Cabinet Chamber last Friday agreed to proactively pursue the introduction of the Federal System of Government in the country and resolved that;
• The key components of the Draft Federal Constitution in regard to the State autonomy, sovereignty, revenue-sharing, community or traditional governance, power-sharing, the assumption of legislative competencies, being at the heart of Draft Constitution- are fully endorsed;
• The Amendment of Section 61 of the current Constitution shall be carried out as soon as possible;
• Provinces should work together with the Central Government to achieve a true ‘Home-grown State System of Government;
• The Provinces would do everything they could to prepare their communities and or existing traditional governance systems to be resourced by the Central Government; and
• All provinces will move together, without wavering, to achieve the goal of adopting a Federal or State System of Government.
The parties to the communique reached the resolutions therein after a review of the progress of the Federal Reform based on presentations by the Policy Secretary for Fundamental Reforms in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Warren Paia, and the Constitutional Reform Unit staff in the same office.
They heard from the officials that work on the completion of the Federal Constitution has reached the final stages, with all consultations and awareness activities to inform the people completed and that the final Draft Federal Constitution will be finalised in May 2017 and made ready for presentation to the Prime Minister the following month (June). The final Draft Federal Constitution is the ninth in a series of drafts.
Speaking after the signing of the communique, the Prime Minister said he was pleased with outcome and elatedly declared, “I am the happiest man today.”
Earlier, in his opening address the Prime Minister said he called for the meeting as he has been hearing conflicting stories regarding the positions of the Premiers regarding the Federal State Constitution and wants to be comforted.
“The greater issue for me as the Prime Minister of this country is that I want to hold this country together. I don’t want us to split over the issue of Federal Government. That’s the last thing I want to see happen.
“We have to consolidate the national peace process. The Government is working on a Reparation Bill to put to Parliament. It will outline all the issues that we must address as a nation to consolidate the peace process so we can really see each other again as brothers and sisters, as Melanesian, as Solomon Islanders,” the Prime Minister added.
He said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government which he leads like successive (Political) Governments that held the reins of the Solomon Island Government is committed to pushing forward the federalism agenda
and this is demonstrated by the millions of dollars of state funds injected into the Constitutional Reform programme.
Prime Minister Sogavare said as the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, he personally wants to see a new Government System the country adopts works and the same view is held by the entire DCCG.
“We don’t want to see a report of the defaults and failures of the Provincial Government System. If the Provincial Government System is allowed to work the way it was intended, we shouldn’t be having any problems. We should be seeing a lean Central Government. Where the growth and expansion should be occurring is at the Provincial Government level.”