To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sogavare announce 2.8 million dollars for Constitutional Congress.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today announced a 2.8 million dollar funding for the work of the Constitutional Congress to administer issues surrounding the country’s Draft Federal Constitution.

Mr Sogavare made the announcement when launching the Constitutional Congress in Honiara today.

He said the government will fund the whole process which is expected to be completed by October 2008.

“We budgeted 2.8 million dollars for the work of the congress and it will be funded entirely by the SI government,” he said.

The Congress will comprise 32 members representing the provinces, Honiara city and of individual Solomon Islanders possessing special qualities to finalise this important reform.

The Congress will be assisted by a group of eminent Solomon Islanders who in their own ways have contributed to the social, economic and political development of the country as well as people having technical expertise.

“Membership of the congress is gender balanced and youths will be represented,” he said. “A significant feature of this process was for the community and not just the politicians to take responsibility for the reform programme and address the content of a new constitution”.

He said the role of the government is to facilitate the process but the control and direction of the constitution making process at this time belongs to the communities and people of Solomon Islands.

Since Independence, successive governments have undertaken programs to reform the national constitution and despite very clear recommendations arising from numerous constitutional reviews, no government has however, succeeded to reform the constitution.

The government believed that the cessation of the civil conflict in October 2000 was secured in part on an assurance in the Townsville Peace Agreement that the government would pursue reform on the national constitution.

The principle strategic theme of the Sogavare-led government when coming into power in 2006 is constitutional reform.

Mr Sogavare said the Constitutional Congress establishes the operational framework in which constitutional reform will be achieved.

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