PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has downplayed the recent commentaries in the media about the government using the State of Emergency for their own conveniences.
He used his COVID-19 National Address yesterday to clarify the matter.
Earlier this week, the Government has come under heavy criticism on how they use the State of Public Emergency.
Former deputy leader of the opposition office and Member of Parliament for East Are’are Peter Kenilorea Jnr also questioned the government.
According to Kenilorea the State of Emergency is for fighting of coronavirus, and the constitution requires actions to be “reasonably justifiable”, for the purpose of fighting coronavirus.
Dr Joseph D. Foukona, who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA also questioned the government.
Foukona said that on the face of it, the decision was also in line with the constitution.
“But there is now an urgent need to examine whether the government has politicised the state of emergency, and whether its behaviour really is constitutional after all,” Foukona said.
But Sogavare yesterday came out strong and said that the recent commentaries in the media are made only to politicised certain issues.
“These commentaries are not based on facts but rather on speculations and in some cases just outright lie,” Sogavare said.
He reminded the leaders and other critics that now is not the time for petty politics.
“I call on the Members of Parliament, Provincial Governments and citizens to leave petty politics aside and to come together as one to fight this common enemy.
“COVID-19 is an enemy that takes no political sides,” Sogavare stated.
He further explained that with its constitutionality or otherwise of the laws made under the state of public emergency is a matter for the courts to decide.
Sogavare stressed that as a democratic country that upholds the rule of law let us hold the process in questioning these issues.
“The doctrine of separation of power remains intact and so does the principle of mutual respect between the three arms of the state,” Sogavare said.
He reminded his government critics that the right place to test these questions is the court of law and not the court of public opinion.
“These are technical legal questions that only the judiciary can answer, let us be responsible,” Sogavare said.
It has been five months since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and two months being in the state of public emergency for Solomon Islands.
By ANDREW FANASIA