THIS morning Parliament will go through the second reading of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2022 to delay election.
It’s going to be an interesting day for the country as debate on this Bill will take place and whatever the outcome of the debate will be, it would set a history for the country.
The current ruling Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) led by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is determined to get Bill passed as had been evident in the past days.
The Bill seeks to ask for Parliament’s approval to delay the 2023 National General Election because of the 2023 Pacific Games.
The government has been pushing hard to delay the election because of the financial implications it would have to the country given the two major events.
The government all along attributed lack of funding as the main reason.
The Opposition side as well as the majority of the people are not keen to the move to delay the delay the elections.
There have been battle involving words and views going on over the past weeks between the government and Opposition.
But it seems DCGA has decided to ignore the calls and bypass the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) by conducting its first reading on Tuesday.
DCGA said, the BLC fails to do its job when the notice of the Bill was issued.
BLC on the other hand has issued an open invitation to individuals, stakeholders and organizations to submit their views on the proposed amendment.
With the first reading on Tuesday, it means, government has decided to ignore BLC and its work.
Chairman of BLC John Maneniaru has expressed disappointment over the move, describing it as a tactic to hijack the parliamentary process of checking bills.
Because the government was claiming it did not have the funds for the election, Australia has extended an offer to help fund the elections.
DCGA on the other turned around and said the offer came too late.
However, few weeks ago. it graciously welcomed the support from the Australian government.
So, it appears, the argument by DCGA that lack of funding to host the election no longer holds water.
The public therefore has been questioning the move by the government.
Given the needed funding resource has been offered, the government can host two events in 2023- the National General Elections and the Pacific Games.
But because the NGE funding offer was turned down by the government, the motives by the current regime will soon become clearer.
The other question that members of the public are also asking is why has DCGA refused to follow the parliamentary process by letting the BLC to scrutinise the Bill?
BLC is mandated to look through all Bills submitted to Parliament for approval.
But DCGA decided not to go through that path. Why?
It is because they don’t want to appear before the Committee and be bombarded with questions or is it because there are no proper reports from MPs after the consultation they held in their respective constituencies?
Who knows, it may be that most constituents in the countries 50 constituencies are opposed to the idea but the MPs may not want to share the outcomes.
It would be interesting to know the outcome of today’s debate.
If Parliament voted in favour to delay the election, then our leaders have spoken. And let us accept the result and remain calm.
However, it’s the future of some of the MPs within the government that maybe at stake because come the next election, some of them may be voted out because they failed to listen to the wishes of the people now.
Long live Solomon Islands!