The Parliamentary House Committee (PHC) successfully trials for the first time virtual working methods.
This was officially announced after a successful workshop by Solomon Islands Government ICT Services (SIG ICT) and the National Parliament ICT team on Friday 15th, May.
The PHC sought out the assistance of Parliament ICT and SIG ICT whether it was possible to host a virtual meeting for the committee members during a lock down. Using ICT software and equipment SIG ICT and Parliament ICT set up the virtual meting enabling the PHC to experience firsthand what it would mean to have a virtual deliberative meeting.
The office of the Clerk to Parliament released a statement saying it is vital that Parliament be able to fulfil its Constitutional duty even in times of a global pandemic. It also stated and expressed that with the technology trailed, there is now an opportunity for remote access and participation of witnesses in the provinces and overseas to be able to give evidence before parliamentary committees without the need to be physically present”.
In light of these new digital communication improvements, National Parliament office and the Parliamentary House Committee are also proposing amendments to the Standing Orders of the House to cater for the need for virtual meetings in the plenary and in committees if need be during the case of an outbreak or a national lockdown.
The statement went on to say that “While this is a baby step, it is a very important one in modernizing parliamentary business that succeeds the NPOSI Vision of being a modern parliament that fulfils its constitutional duties and effectively serves the people of Solomon Islands” The statement adds that the next step would be to seek funding for the technology to be rolled out and be a permanent feature in the work of committees and Parliament.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary House Committee Derek Manuari, Leader of Opposition, Hon. Matthew Cooper Wale, Hon. Stanley Festus Sofu, the Clerk to Parliament and the Parliament Secretariat, took part in the virtual PHC meeting.
This initiative is also a window of opportunity for the NPOSI office to be able to work towards achieving one of its main parliamentary objectives under its strategic plan to effectively roll out an e-parliamentary platform. The National Parliament Office would like to acknowledge the work of SIG ICT for a successful collaboration.