PREMIER of Western Province David Gina has renewed his call for the national government to urgently implement the State Federal System.
At the same, he said if the national government continues to drag its feet on the issue, Western Province should be immediately granted its federal status.
Gina made the call at the end of a three-day Provincial Executive meeting over the weekend during which the topic was discussed.
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also an appropriate time that Western Province is granted its federal status,” the premier said.
“This would give the province powers to decide on its development aspirations,” he added.
During the meeting, those from the province with wider and deep knowledge about the Federal Constitution briefed executive members about the system.
Gina said the Sogavare government should know that the priority wish of the people of Western Province since independence is to achieve federalism.
The executive meeting was also told that the Draft Federal Constitution has been tampered with.
It heard this was orchestrated by advisers from the Ministry of Provincial Government with no prior consultation with provinces.
Gina said when work began on the process going many years back on the proposed Federal system, everything about the system was deliberated in full with total respect and due diligence.
He explained that the agenda which also attracted international attention was “a done deal that does not need any further delay what so ever”.
“So it is time Western Province is granted its wish,“ Gina insisted.
He explained that the Federal agenda is a finished product and a done deal which means the only outstanding deal left for Government now is to have it blessed and let the provinces adopt it.
“Western Province is pushing to get the new system in place now.
“It does not make any sense in driving any further delay in the agenda that has cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare.”
Earlier, Gina stated that the only solution to provincial over-dependence on the Central Government is to devolve powers, functions, and decision-making authority to the provinces.
The country has spent up to $100 million of public funds over the past 12 years to prepare the Draft Federal Constitution with the trust of building a suitable and equitable system of Government.
Gina said if there’s a suitable time to implement the Federal Constitution, it is now.
He said he will lead the campaign to get other provinces to back the move to implement the Federal Constitution.
By TERENCE ZIRU