A GOVERNMENT threat to suspend Malaita Provincial government is a slap on the face of the people of Malaita and their premier.
Hence this “ill-conceived” decision must be reconsidered by the Minister responsible.
This sentiment was echoed by a former government political appointee, who asked not to be named.
“It is not in anyone’s interest to rock the boat at a time when we need to unite and pool our resources together to fight COVID-19,” he said.
“The Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening Rollen Seleso must do the right thing in making sure that harmony and the unity of this nation is upheld at all costs,” he added.
“I’m of the view that the government reconsiders the decision to avoid creating another problem for itself whilst we already have our hands full with the coronavirus pandemic.”
The former political appointee pointed out that according to the Provincial Government (PG) Act 1997 under section 44 are two grounds for which a provincial government can be suspended.
The first ground applies when a provincial executive is acted in a manner prejudicial to the public interest or national interest of the Solomon Islands.
And secondly, made default (broke basically) or mismanaged any aspect of the provincial financial affairs (misuse).
“You cannot suspend a provincial executive just because you disagree with certain executive views on policy matters as this case transpired to be,” he said.
The former political appointee further stressed that the current government must be slow to exercise this power.
“The reason is that suspension is no different from overriding the democratic rights of provincial voters.
“And also provincial executives occupy office as the result of democratic elections so you just don’t pull the trigger anytime,” the ex-political appointee added.
He further claimed that it is very clear that the national government wants to suspend Malaita executive because the Premier was an irritant to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
In a letter to the province on 30 April 2020, Seleso explained that his action was based on Premier Daniel Suidani’s two previous overseas trips which the premier failed to inform the ministry.
“This is not a ground to suspend any provincial executive as stipulated in section 44 of the PG Act 1977,” the former political appointee added.
Leader of the Opposition Mathew Wale also cautioned the government against the threat to suspend the Malaita provincial government.
By ANDREW FANASIA