26 Mar 2013

Controversial rural development funding bill in Solomons parliament

2:05 pm on 26 March 2013

Opponents of a controversial bill to regulate the use of funding for development in rural parts of Solomon Islands are calling for parliamentary debate on the legislation to stop to allow more consultation.

The Constituency Development Funds Bill 2013, which is being debated in parliament today, has attracted criticism from a number of civil society organisations as well as church groups for being rushed through.

The chief executive of Forum Solomon Islands International says his organisation speaks for the silent majority, who support the legislation but not in its current form.

Benjamin Afuga says the bill should go out to the people.

"I'm referring to the people in the rural communities who are supposed to be the ones that should benefit from the fund, actually. So this is where we are coming from, we want the bill to be delayed, not rushed and then parliament should select a special select committee and take the bill out to the community so that people can have a say about the bill."

Benjamin Afuga says as it is, the bill legislates the sort of misuse of the money it is meant to eliminate.