Tough task ahead for police as people vow to resist cross-border voters

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By Gary Hatigeva

THE Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is deemed to have a very tough task in front of it as registration continues throughout the country, with people in certain constituencies proposing to confront or carryout activities that will attempt to stop those who are involved in the cross-border registrations syndrome.

The issue of cross border registrations has also taken a hard hit on some of the Honiara Constituencies, as well as in other Islands but mostly recently in Malaita province, which sparked anger and frustrations amongst ordinary residents of constituencies there in.

This has lead to a number of activities that are defined illegal under the electoral laws of the country, which some people thought necessary to protect the vulnerability of genuine constituents who are said to have been denied of development and service benefits as a result of the cross border practice.

Recently, the Island Sun reported similar activities in Honiara by some frustrated electors who decided to block people whom they knew or suspected to be involved in the practice, and over the past few days, other groups of frustrated electors in some of the Malaita constituencies have also done the same.

Island Sun understands that registrations are now ready to start of in some parts of the provinces this week and there are new proposals that have surfaced to block and resist those that are attempting to take part in the increasing cross border registration practice.

In a letter posted in one of the local online forums, people of Ward 5 in West Fataleka (Fataleka Constituency) have proposed to confront people that have chosen to register under any of their wards.

“People in West Kwara’ae and other neighbouring regions that are ready to shift over to register in Ward 5 of West Fataleka will confront resistance from the indigenous W/Fataleka people joining the People’s Power,” it said.

The spokes person for the People’s Power movement seriously indicated that the exercise they propose to carry out will not be easy as they are facing all odds, and expressed that they too are hoping for a transparent and genuine system of registration to be done in West Fataleka.

Police are however under immense pressure to ensure all registrations are carried out smoothly without any form of disturbances and interference, but unfortunately, with very limited resources.

Police have in the recent days came out in the media with assurance of an anticipated safe election as their preparations for that events, are progressing well.

The trainings according to the Police Commissioner, will equip police officers with the knowledge and skills to effectively deal with any form of public order issues.

Police came out strongly with emphasis on safety and security, which are mostly focused on the election period.

But with the recent happenings only in the registration phase, and looking at the reputation of some of the constituencies highlighted, many of whom have vowed to take actions in this registration process so as during the election period, concerned electorates are suggesting for the RSIPF to strengthen its capacity and resources as people fear the worst could come, during and post election day.

Police have however stressed that the safety and security of any elections will also depend very much on the people, and therefore appealed for the general public particularly, in the constituencies concerned, to assist the authorities to avoid such situations.

They also joined the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission to remind the frustrated electors not to take the matters of the laws into their own hands, and asked for them to use the legal avenue given under the electoral law to deal with issues of concern.

“That is, the Objection and Omission period within the Registration Cycle, and if you feel that there is clear breach of the relevant laws, you have all the right to object their names, where it will be followed by a Public hearing on those objected.

“And if those people can’t justify the objections pinned on them, then their names will definitely be removed.

“So that will also fulfill why the process is categorized as the analysing and cleaning the List of Voters phase, which means constituencies can get a clean list in the end, through the proper processes, without having to break the laws,” officials explained.

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