Temotu Premier denies allegations as motion filed against him
TEMOTU Provincial Premier Clay Forau is confident his government is rock solid and welcomed the motion of no confidence against him this Thursday.
“Bring it on. We are in a democratic country,” he said.
The motion was moved by Stanley Tehiahua, the member for Duff Islands, with 39 allegations against the Premier.
The speaker could not reveal all the allegations.
However, he was satisfied that the allegations are well within what is required as specific terms for ground for lack of confidence prescribed in Order 113 of TPA Standing Orders.
The Speaker based his decision on Order 113. “A motion of no-confidence must state in specific terms the grounds for the lack of confidence being:
- gross misuse, abuse or neglect of the powers of the office;
- misappropriation of public funds;
- serious breaches of any legislation binding the Provincial Executive or the Assembly in execution of duties as Premier; or any other grounds which may bring the office into serious disrepute;”
The Speaker added, he had taken action to seek opinion from both the Ministry of Provincial Government & Institutional Strengthening and the Attorney General’s Chamber as to whether he had fairly and rightfully exercised his powers under the Standing Orders on the decision he took.
“So far, the Ministry have concluded an opinion which confirmed that my decision was within the powers of the Office I hold under the Standing Orders; and what I had done was within the requirements of Standing Orders.
“The opinion conveyed by the Ministry further concurred that the allegations listed by the Member for Duffs were quite serious and therefore necessary for the motion to be debated on the floor of the Assembly,” Mr Levela said.
In the meantime, the Speaker said, he is still waiting for any legal opinion from the Attorney General’s Chamber as to whether there would be any legal implications that may require him to have my decision reviewed or rescinded.
“Other than that, the motion as it stands should be tabled in the Assembly by Hon Member for Duffs on Thursday 30 March 2023.
“I have endeavored to ensure that the formal process to notify the public as required by Standing Orders is adhered to and do ensure that I have fairly and rightfully exercised the powers vested in me as Speaker in my handling of the matter,” he said.
The Speaker said it is now the prerogative of the elected MPAs to deal with the motion.
As such, Mr Levela appeals to all Temotuans, particularly those in and around Lata and Santa Cruz, to remain calm.
“The motion, like any other business of the Assembly, is an important matter which only our elected leaders can decide.
“The public must therefore allow our Members of Assembly to freely and fairly exercise their responsibility in dealing with this business without any interference or threats.
“As your Assembly Speaker, I won’t tolerate any statement which may be inferred to be a threat to any member of the House nor allow any form of misbehavior or disorder that could be aligned to this Assembly Business.
“As such, I shall not be hesitant to refer to the police any person or persons whom I find to have said or done any act that may be regarded to be a threat to any member on both sides of the House or any member of the public.
But Premier Forau totally denies any gross misuse, abuse and misappropriation allegations levelled at him.
He said most of the issues raised by the mover are non-issues because they have been clarified in the assembly more than once already.
“Some of the issues are personal attacks against myself and some members of my executive, which again have been clarified in the assembly already.
“The mover is someone who never sits in the chamber for a complete day and this may be the reason why he is raising them.
“Most of the time he only comes for the rolls to be called by the clerk and then leaves the chamber.
“When his allowances are paid, they are paid in full. Almost all the allegations in the motion were raised by a female member of the backbench in the Solomon star column of letters to the editor last week. In my opinion, the motion does not qualify under Standing Order113 used by the speaker to accept it.
He went ahead and decided that the issues were serious without daring to know the other side of the coin.
“Anyway, I respect the decision of the speaker and the right of the mover to move the motion. The speaker did not even dare to ask the mover to prove if he had the support. However, my government is rock solid and I welcome the opposition to bring it on. We are in a democratic country,” Premier Forau said.
BY CHARLES KADAMANA