Non-transparent drafting process for a federal constitution
FOR ten years, a high-powered Constitutional Congress of about over 60 persons has been working on a proposed new National Constitution that would establish a number of States making up the Federation of Solomon Islands, replacing the current constitution and the structure of provinces and Provincial Governments.
TSI understands that the proposed Federal Constitution would define the geographic boundaries of the States, giving them powers within those boundaries, and subject to any overriding national laws, to provide services, impose state taxes and spend public funds, including money received from and through the Federal Treasury and external sources, control movements of people, goods and means of transport across state borders and regulate business activities within the State.
Over the years the Congress has met in various locations and for varying periods, engaging local and international consultants as specialist advisers on aspects of the proposed constitution.
The total cost to public funds has not been published, who has received what payments and what payments are still to be made is not known.
On enquiry, this information is not available, as it is merged with the overall budget and expenditure of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
There has been no published progress report and no public discussion of the proposals that it has so far taken the Congress ten years to formulate.
The Prime Minister has assured the people of Solomon Islands that the Federal Constitution is one of his government’s priorities amongst others ie fighting corruption head on.
TSI calls on the national Government now to inform the public of what has been achieved in the last ten years and at what cost to public funds, showing clearly payments made to Congress members and other recipients, and what plans are now in place to complete the work of the Congress, and to make a full report to Parliament and to the general public.
Transparency Solomon Islands would like to know what you think about this issue. Contact us at Hyundai Mall Room 226, phone 28319.