Constitutional Review Committee completes Report

(Left to right): Agnes Tari (secretariat, State Law Office), Ms Christine Lahua (secretariat, SLO), Ham Bulu (NUP rep), MP Edwin

Macreveth (Acting Speaker), Min. Ralph Regenvanu (Chair, CRC, GJP rep) and MP Johnny Koanapo (Vice-Chair, CRC, VP rep)

The Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), which was established by a motion passed in the 1st Ordinary Session of Parliament this year to review the Bill for the Constitution (Seventh)(Amendment) Act No. of 2016

, tabled at the special session of Parliament called by the Government on the 9th June 2016, handed in its report to the Office of the Speaker of Parliament yesterday.

The CRC was chaired by Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu. Its members included the Leader of the Opposition Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau, representatives of all political parties represented in Parliament (including former Prime Minister Sato Kilman representing PPP and Vice-Chairman of the CRC Johnny Koanapo representing VP), and representatives of civil society organisations including the Vanuatu Christian Council, the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, the National Youth Council, the Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions, the Vanuatu Association of Non-Government Organisations, and the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People.

The terms of reference of the CRC were to review the Bill for the Constitution (Seventh)(Amendment) Act No. of 2016 and the Parliamentary Amendment to the Bill tabled at the special session of Parliament of the 9th June 2016, to consult and provide the views of the organisations they represent on the proposed constitutional amendments, and to submit its report containing its findings and recommendations to the Speaker of Parliament no later than the 31st of August 2016.

Chairman Regenvanu said he was pleased that despite the many differing views expressed within the CRC meetings, the Committee’s final report was unanimously approved by all members as a true account of the Committee’s deliberations.

Now the CRC report has been submitted, the report will be translated and printed in both English and French ready for tabling in Parliament.

Meanwhile, an Ad Hoc Committee of 7 Members of Parliament established by a motion passed in the special session of Parliament of the 9th June 2016 still has to review the proposed constitutional amendments as well as the CRC report before a further special Parliament session can be called to approve the final amendments to the constitution. Any amendments that change the parliamentary system or the electoral system will then have to approved in a national referendum before they can take effect.

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