25 Jul 2017

Call for more autonomy for Solomons ombudsman

7:44 pm on 25 July 2017

The leader of the opposition in Solomon Islands has called for more autonomy for the office of the ombudsman.

Jeremiah Manele made the call on the floor of parliament during the second reading of a new bill that aims to give the ombudsman more powers to investigate the actions of public leaders and authorities.

Solomon Islands parliament

Solomon Islands parliament Photo: RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins

Mr Manele said the office of the ombudsman in Solomon Islands had been likened to a toothless watchdog and he applauded the government for the new bill which he said would give it some bite.

However he said he had to agree with the recommendations of the bills and legislations committee that the office should be given more autonomy including independent control of its budgetary allocation.

Mr Manele said too often promising government programs and initiatives were hamstrung because of inadequate funds or delays in funding approval.

The opposition leader also said it was critical that government include awareness for rural communities and schools on the roles of the office of the Ombudsman in its implementation initiatives and strategies.

He said the right to raise complaints as not a right if people were not aware of its existence.