Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Manasseh Maelanga has expressed confidence that the recently opened Paul Tovua Complex at the parliament grounds will enhance the quality of Members of Parliaments’ parliamentary performance.
Speaking at the opening of the complex last Friday, DPM Maelanga said the significance of having an office complex for Members is not only in relation to individual Members, but to Parliament in general.
“If all Members have their own offices and direct secretarial and research support, their performance in the Chamber and in committees will definitely improve considerably. I am very confident that this complex will go a long way indeed in enhancing our Parliament in fulfilling its oversight, legislative and representative functions,” he said.
Since independence in 1978, parliamentarians did not have the privilege of having separate official offices beside their constituency offices, which they had to establish and maintain at their own cost.
This has been a rather sad state of affairs, in comparison to other parliaments in the region and beyond. Over the past decades considerable progress was made in providing adequate office facilities for Ministers and public officers but not Members of Parliament.
Consequently, ordinary Members struggled to discharge their important official duties from their crowded homes or from the floor of their hotel rooms during Parliament meetings. For this reason, Members have always had a strong desire to have their own office complex where their democratic and parliamentary duties could be effectively discharged.
Named after one of the country’s former speakers, Paul Tovua, the complex started within the National Parliament Office, with the untiring support of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project and Pacific Architect Limited.
Important decisions as to design, position and timing were, however, ultimately made by the House Committee. At the end of the whole process, the Parliamentary Speaker then, Sir Peter Kenilorea, had a proposal and subsequently made an appeal for funding.
In early 2008, much to everyone’s delight, the Republic of China (or Taiwan) responded, expressing interest in funding the project. It also offered to engage a Taiwanese company to lead the construction.
In total, the Republic of China (or Taiwan) committed approximately US$3 million towards this project.
“The completion of the complex reminds us all in this country, the importance of donor partners to our general development aspirations and not only in terms of institutional development, reforms and enhancement; but in terms of our general development aspirations.
“For this I wish to thank all our donor parties; but in relation to these Facilities, I wish to acknowledge the Republic of China or Taiwan. This is one more demonstration of the Commitment by the Government and people of Taiwan are committed to support Solomon Islands and its people,” Maelanga said.
He added that the complex is a very vital contribution to the development of our young but vibrant parliamentary democracy and its important symbols.
Maelanga also commended the National Parliament Office and the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project for taking the initiative in the first place and for pursuing the project despite many hiccups and delays.
“Your efforts will no doubt be realized in full by parliamentarians when, in about a year from now, they will stand here to officially open a beautiful two-storey complex and enjoy its facilities to enhance their important national responsibilities to our people and country,” he concluded. Source PMO