The Leader of the Parliamentary Independent Group, Honorable Manasseh Maelanga, is in support of calls made to the Prime Minister to work with available public institutions within the government machinery, including his Ministers.
“This is our country and we need to respect all institutions established under the laws of the land. We must grow within the capacity that we have as a country.”
This was in response to the ongoing issue on the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s intervention on the granting of a license to export sea cucumbers despite known technical reservations.
The Office of the Independent Group in Parliament intends to make a very clear stand on the matter – and that is the Ministry of Fisheries is one of the key ministries of the government of Solomon Islands. The available technical support that it has should be nurtured and not tampered upon.
“Further we must listen to legal advice from the Attorney General office as our principle legal advisor.
“Both offices are equally important when we talk about our fisheries sector, let alone the issue of sea cucumbers.
“Ironically, the political culture is for the Minister to handle most of what he or she is assigned to do. In most instances it is further clothed with the relevant powers as vested in the respected Acts.”
Denying any Minister the opportunity to lead and develop one’s scope of responsibility is simply ‘‘interference’’ on the assignment of responsibilities, and to an extent can be ultra vires. In any case assisting and advising the Minister on his duties can be acceptable.
However, in this matter on the granting of the license it seems to be a ”directive” made by the Prime Minister to his Minister rather than cordial advice.
“Generally speaking nothing is wrong with that because the Minister can respond accordingly if he has dissenting views, based on technical advice sought from his/her technical staff.”
However, the statement asserted that ‘the assumption remains that in this instance there is no room for any technical responses since this ‘directive’ tends to be more than a ”clear directive”.
“It has subsequently been supported by a political twist from none other than the Deputy Prime Minister and it was munched by political rhetoric’s and cooked with ideologies of furthering the cause on ‘indigenous Solomon Islanders.
“Who in his right mind is not concern about the development of all Solomon Islanders? Of course we are all concerned people, but we execute them within the whims of democratic principles not otherwise.”
The Office added, ‘the system is tailor made with legislations, rules and regulations. As a responsible leader we need to abide with these guidelines and get technical support from appropriate people that are mandated to do the task; legal advice traditionally is sought from the Office of the Attorney General and technical Advice is sought from the Ministries mandated under the laws of our sovereign land to do so’’.
The Prime Ministers directive in this matter may have evolved into a coercive ‘order’, with an immediate effect but maybe without technical and legal concurrence from relevant agents of the state. Hence and the PM is asked to be sensitive on how he handles the whole matter, the statement added.
The Minister of Fisheries, Hon John Maneniaru is hereby encouraged not to give into undue political pressure but rather stand on principles set out within our mandated laws and guidelines, translated and implemented through advice by the technical personals at the Ministry of Fisheries and the informed advices from the Attorney Generals Chamber.