SIEC warns public not to be misled by rumours of registration extension
By Gary Hatigeva
THE Solomon Islands Electoral Commission’s registration programme is now in its final week with only a few booths still taking in newly registered and transfer voters for all constituencies, including the three Honiara constituencies, as the Registration Phase of the Election Cycle, now coming to its completion.
As of yesterday, from a total of 73 Voter Registration Centres for the Honiara Constituencies, based on the SIEC Biometric Registration Movement Plan, only 15 centres are expected to continue with the registration programme until tomorrow, September 27, 2018, the last day of registrations.
The public is therefore reminded to take serious note of the clarification as there are reports of people being mislead into believing a series of extension periods have been given to all the registrations centres, and misinformed of them (centres) being reopened.
Not according to the SIEC Chief Electoral Officer, Mose Saitala who when interviewed on this, dismissed such information and explained that the Commission has never mentioned or made any public announcement on extending the registration period for all centres as the schedule is based on an approved timeline guide.
Saitala further explained that all centres have been operating and carrying out their registration programmes according to a set of timelines that was gazetted and added that any changes made would be illegal from their part to do so.
Additionally, in its Movement Plan, the SIEC outlined that for the East Honiara Constituency, the only centres expected to continue until the end of this week are, the centres at the Solomon Islands National University’s Panatina Campus, the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF’s) Football Academy compound, with two VRC, the Norman Palmer School compound, also hosting two centres, the Ministry of Home Affairs compound at the Maromaro area, and the Bibleway Centre.
Meanwhile, in the Central Honiara Constituency, the only centres that will continue their registration activities are, the Mbokonavera School, which hosts a total of five VRCs, the Honiara High School compound with two VRCs, the Fulsango Church hall, the Girl Guides compound in Point Cruz, and the Honiara City Council’s Education Office, within the Council’s compound.
As for the West Honiara Constituency, only five Voter Registration Centres are expected to continue with their registration programmes until the final day.
They include the Apostolic Church compound near the 01 Bus Stop, the Vet Office besides the Nicki’s Fast Food restaurant at the Lower Lengakiki area, the Police Post at White River, the Disuse Kindy School compound, and the Police Club premises at the Rove Headquarters.
With over 80 percent of centres now closed, most of the resources have been pulled in to the remaining centres to help in the process and the CEO is hoping that this will help in the flow of registration for the growing pressure on electoral officials in terms of the growing pressure.
People are however warned not to listen to unconfirmed rumours of additional days for registration as stations and booths will not be reopened or given any extension periods.
“Apart from the centres that will close on Friday, all the others should have been closed with some reaching their deadlines yesterday (Monday) and today (yesterday),” officials say.
Now that a good number of voters have registered and are in possession of their ID cards, the SIEC CEO has reiterated his warning for electors not to sell them as this practice is illegal and can amount to a very serious offence.
CEO Saitala added that those caught committing this offence, can pay a fine of $50,000 or get jailed for five years or receive both.
The next phase after this Friday’s deadline will be for the Electoral Commission to compile all the data collected and publish the Provisional list of names for everyone in their respective constituencies to see.
And based on the SIEC schedule and movement plan, the provisional lists will be pinned up in all constituencies only for a period of seven days, which will then be followed by the Omission and Objection period that is scheduled to run for a period of two weeks, from the 7th to the 20th of November.
It is understood that only a few centres for constituencies in the provinces are still carrying out their registration programmes as most have only started last week and early this week, however, the rest, based on the SIEC timeline, have already concluded and officials have returned with their data.