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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Solomons PM firm on parliamentary secretary appointments

By George Herming

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare yesterday maintained that the appointment of parliamentary positions for Parliament Members to advance important government policies is done within the bounds of the national constitution.

Mr Sogavare was responding to earlier media statements by several groups including the speaker of parliament claiming the appointments were unconstitutional.

He said decisions made by the government are always agreed upon within the bounds of the law and the constitution of the country.

“I want to assure the nation and the media that this government will not do anything unless we are sure that what we are doing is legal and constitutional,” he said.

The Prime Minister explained that the confusion that arises in light of the appointments was the fact that people fail to understand the incorporation of the Prime Minister’s authority to establish posts and make appointments with the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission which sets out terms and conditions for appointees.

“I had sought legal advice on the matter for the appointment and in fact the general provision of section 44 of the constitution allows the Prime Minister to establish posts and assigned them with responsibilities.

“Of course, in the interest of transparency and accountability we incorporate these appointments into the parliamentary entitlements regulation which sets out what these people are going to do and also the level of remuneration they are going to receive,” Mr Sogavare said.

He said there is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about the appointments of parliamentary secretaries and encouraged people who disagree with government decisions to challenge them in the country’s courts.

“As far as the government is concerned, we are doing things under the law in compliance with the constitution.

“But of course there is always the court to resort to if people are aggrieved with the decisions of the government,” he said.

Source: GCU

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