The policy behind the extension of the current Parliament to 2024 as well for a five-year term was a Cabinet decision. It is no longer a proposal. It is now a major policy of the DCGA Government.
Given it was a Cabinet decision, the responsibility to explain and defend the Cabinet decision rests with Cabinet members who are basically ministers in the DCGA Government headed by the prime minister himself.
They are the ones who, by now, should go out and explain to the public why they have decided to extend the current life of the Parliament as well as a five-year term.
Ministers should not hide behind the Secretary to Prime Minister (SSPM) and Attorney General (AG) who are unelected senior officials, thus, are not answerable to the voters/people.
Both the SSPM and AG are not officially and constitutionally members of Cabinet.
The AG is basically a public servant who is policy-neutral. He or she only provides legal advice to the government and remains disinterested in the politics and policies of the government.
The SSPM is of course the mouth-piece and top advisor to the prime minister, and by extension, the political government. But he has already rendered his advice and the Cabinet had already made a decision. Therefore, the issue now is beyond the SSPM’s influence and now in the domain of ministers.
If there an official who should be defending the political government’s policy about the extension of Parliament and for a five-year term, that person is the Chief of Staff in the PMO.
Under the current PMO organisational structure, the CoS is the head of the government policy monitoring and implementation unit.
The CoS should also be out in public to explain the policy reasons for the important decisions herein. This is when officials like the CoS stand out to earn his place in the government by explaining, clarifying and the defending the need for the extension of the current Parliament to 2024 and why a five-year term of Parliament is crucially needed in Solomon Islands.
The prime minister and his ministers (together with the CoS) must now go out and defend the DCGA Government Policy and Cabinet decision. They must not hide behind the SSPM and AG who are unelected senior officials and not answerable to the voters/public. Both these gentlemen are not decision-makers to earn them the anger of the voters and people of Solomon Islands.
By Andrew Muaki