The National, Friday July 5th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
DEPUTY Opposition leader Sam Basil has described the proposed amendment to section 124 and 145 of the Constitution a step towards uncensored corruption, gagging of parliament and anarchy and not in the best interest of the country.
Basil called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to withdraw his Government’s proposed amendments to the Constitution, in particular Section 124 (Calling of Parliament and Meeting) and Section 145 (Votes of No Confidence).
He said the Government was overstepping the call of the Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC) and the Constituents Assembly’s wisdom to provide mechanisms to contain corruption, rid out despots who wanted to hold onto power and the need to change a government that was not delivering to the people.
“The recommendations of the CPC need to be read again by the prime minister and all members of parliament as the reasons why certain provisions were incorporated into the Constitution,” he said.
Basil said the proposed amendment, in particular the number of sitting days and manner of giving notice and numbers required to sign on motion of no confidence, in this case Section 142 and 145, was not good for the country and for the future.
“The very provisions that we all oppose, including the founder of People’s National Congress (late Sir William Skate) and Peter O’Neill (then opposition leader) desisted and did not allow Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to pass the law to amend Section 145 from 12 months is now becoming the agenda of this Government,” Basil said.
“This happened under the then late Sir William Skate PNC Government who adjourned continuously when the country was going down and economy about to collapse. Are we seeing a repeat of that trend hence, the need to safeguard the prime minister and his Government,” he asked.
“The provision in Section 124 is for Parliament to meet for not less than three times that is meant to be quarterly meetings.
“The proposed amendment is removing that quarterly period and providing for not less than 40 days, which is less than the required 63 days as clarified by the Supreme Court in the provisions of the Constitution,” Basil said.
“To alter the provisions of the Constitution is defeating the parliamentary process of changing a government, including the prime minister, for reasons highlighted by the CPC in its CPC Report of
“And a strategy moving into widespread corruption, poor governance and transparency and to anarchy when Parliament cannot meet as and when required to deal with matters of national importance and to remove a corrupt and despotic government,” Basil said.