WESTERN PROVINCE Premier David Gina has called for changes to the way salaries and entitlements of Members of the Provincial Assemblies are delivered, saying the present system is unfair.
“Our salaries are received from the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, while our entitlements are determined by the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission (PEC).
“This creates a lot of confusion here. The fact is we are elected members of provincial assemblies, and people elected us through the electoral system before forming a government,” Premier Gina told Solomon Star in an exclusive interview earlier this week.
Premier Gina said it was not the Provincial Government that advertised our jobs, interviewed us, and selected us for the jobs.
“It is the people who elected us so why shouldn’t the same body that determines our entitlements also deal with our salaries,” he asked.
He said in this case, our salaries should be treated in a different way and not as public officers that get their salaries through the payroll system as public servants do.
“It should not be like that, yet our entitlements were determined by the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission (PEC) so there is no consistency.
“The situation has left us in a dilemma in that we cannot bring up any queries about our situation because our situation is dealt with by two separate systems. It has created confusion even with the PEC,” Premier Gina said.
“This issue has continued for the last 10 to 20 years. It should be changed so that we are paid as elected Members of the Provincial Assemblies, not as public servants,” he said.
“Being paid through the Provincial government is the system we do not want,” he said.
“Payroll for MPAs should be treated in a different way so that it is easier to deal with when there is a problem. Right now we have two systems to deal with – one with the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening and the other with our entitlements which are determined by the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission (PEC).
“The PEC is the Parliamentarians and not the Provincial Entitlement Commission (PAC) that is why they don’t care about dealing with any of our issues,” the Premier said.
Premier Gina said the PEC and MPGIS must come up with a plan to address the current situation so that the needs and welfare of Members of all nine Provincial Assemblies are taken care of.
“They must make it clear right now,’’ he said.
“If they cannot resolve it, then we should be granted statehood so that we can create our own framework.
By Ulutah Gina
Gizo News Bureau