Following the natural dissolution of the Provincial Assemblies of Western and Choiseul Provinces on 13th June 2022, the Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), Hon. Rollen Seleso, gives orders under section 47 of the Provincial Government Act for the Provincial Secretaries for the two Provinces to be Caretaker Administrators before elections are held on the 14th of December 2022.
The Orders (Legal Notice No. 205 for Choiseul, and Legal Notice No. 206 for Western), PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1997 (No. 7 of 1997) that are contained in the Gazzette was issued on the 24th of June 2022.
Minister Seleso issues the order considering the power and administrative vacuum that have resulted from the dissolution of the Provincial Assemblies of the two Provinces, which impact on the Governance and Financial Management decision making until the proposed election date of 14th December 2022 or thereafter.
The Minister’s orders take into consideration the latest advice from the Electoral Commission which indicates that the elections for Choiseul and Western Provinces shall be delayed to December 14th this year because of the need to carry out registration of voters to update the electors list. Registration of voters would cover the months of August, September and October 2022. Preparations for elections would be on November 2022 with the elections proper on the 14th of December 2022. Since there would be a six-month gap, the Minister considers it imperative to establish a caretaker administration to ensure continuity of service delivery in the two Provinces.
The Order (a) specifies that there is to be no election of the Provincial Assembly following the dissolution of the Assembly on 13 June 2022 before 14 December 2022; and (b) appoint the Provincial Secretary as Caretaker Administrator of the Province; and (c) require that, until the election of the Provincial Assembly is held on the proposed date of 14th December 2022 or other appointed date, the Provincial Secretary: (i) oversees the affairs of the Province, including its Financial Management; and (ii) in doing so, complies with the guidelines specified in the Schedule.
The schedule specifies that:
For the Provincial Government to meet the Minimum Conditions of reporting, the monthly report, which before 13 June 2022 would have been given to the Provincial Premier, must be given to the Provincial Secretary