Cultural Artefact: Constitutions of the Solomon Islands
The British Solomon Islands Protectorate was one of the territories administered by the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific. The Protectorate was proclaimed in 1893 and the first Resident Commissioner, Charles Woodford (q.v.) appointed in 1896. The Protectorate was administered by its Resident Commissioner, who was answerable to the High Commissioner in Fiji. In 1921 a small Advisory Council (q.v.) was initiated to assist the Resident Commissioner. Solomon Islanders did not begin to participate directly in these highest levels of decision-making until 1950, when the Resident Commissioner nominated the first four Solomon Islanders to the Advisory Council. These founding fathers of the modern nation were Rev. Kaspar Kakaise, Silas Sitai, Milton Talasasa and, starting in 1951, Jacob Vouza (all q.v.).
In 1953, the positions of Governor of Fiji and that of High Commissioner for the Western Pacific were separated and in late 1952 and early 1953 the Western Pacific High Commission headquarters was moved to Honiara. From this time, the Protectorate was governed directly through the High Commissioner and his small Executive Council. Also in the early 1950s regionally based Local Councils began to be established, which became the lower level of the governmental system and a regional basis for membership in the national legislative bodies. Various constitutional reforms were made between 1960 and 1978, slowly preparing the Protectorate for a transfer of power as a unitary state operating under the Westminster system.