Friday, February 25, 2011

Parliament opens doors today to swear in governor general

PARLIAMENT will meet this morning for the swearing-in of Governor-General-elect Michael Ogio after the Supreme Court dismissed a stay application yesterday, The National reports.

The swearing-in would be the only business today when the chamber’s doors open at 10am.

The office of the clerk of parliament said yesterday members of parliament would enter the chamber at 10am to be followed by the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia.

The governor-general-elect would then, by procedure, be invited by acting Speaker Francis Marus to enter the chamber to be sworn into office.

After the swearing-in, the new vice-regal would be escorted out of the chambers to take up his post at Government House.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Government House officials were making arrangements for Ogio to travel to Buckingham Palace to present his credentials to the Queen.

Leader of government business Paul Tiensten had stated that the swearing-in ceremony would be the only government business and parliament would be adjourned to May 10 for the normal session.

An attempt by one of the GG candidates, Ronald Rimbao, to stop the swearing-in was rejected by the Supreme Court yesterday.

In rejecting the application, the court said there was no legally arguable case and that Rimbao had abused the process in the proceedings.

The Supreme Court bench comprised Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika and Justices Derek Hartshorn and Ere Kariko.

Rimbao had relied on his proposal for nomination which he had submitted to the clerk of the parliament on last May 28 when the position became vacant after former GG Sir Paulias Matane’s term expired.

Sir Paulias was reappointed but a Supreme Court hearing ruled against it.

New nominations were called but Rimbao did not submit any, thinking that his May 28 proposal for nomination would hold ground.

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected Rimbao’s stay application citing the appellant’s failure in submitting a new proposal and that it was not the clerk’s duty to hand out forms to candidates.

Outside the court, Rimbao’s lawyer Philip Ame said he would be seeking further advice from his client whether to pursue the matter on other relevant grounds, adding that the matter was obviously “down but not out”.

Ame said for the parliament to allocate less than two days to nominate candidates was still another questionable matter in court.

“Constitutional processes are being bulldozed for unknown reasons by the government and is dangerous for the country,” Ame said, while referring to the alleged speedy nomination that saw Ogio elected.

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