Voter registration hits a snag on Malaita

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By Alfred Sasako

VOTER registration, particularly on Malaita, may have hit a snag over inadequate allowances with assistant voter registration officers threatening sit-in protest unless the Electoral Commission steps in to resolve the matter.

The Electoral Commission is paying $150-a-day allowance across the board for assistant registration officers and their helpers (carriers. The amount is said to cover subsistence allowance as well as a touring allowance.

Some assistant registration officers told Island Sun over the weekend the across-the-board allowance is “unfair and inadequate”.

“It fails to take into accounts the hardships being faced by those who would do the enumeration in the hinterland of Malaita.

“Take for example those who would be doing the registration work deep inside the mountainous region of East Kwaio. They would need extra payment to account for the hardships they face and the hard work in getting the papers to villages in the mountains,” one officer told Island Sun.

“We are planning a sit-in protest unless the Electoral Commission increases the allowance by $50 for each of the registration officers and their carriers.”

The officer said the allowance should never be calculated across the board because it fails to take into account situations in all 14 constituencies on Malaita.

“We have for example officers who would be doing their work in villages along the coasts where things are a lot easier. In East Kwaio and parts of East and West Are Are, the situation is entirely different as voter registration officers and their helpers have to climb mountains after mountains for hours to get to any village.

“Our helpers would be carrying lots of boxes and these are pretty heavy. I think it is only fair their efforts are recognised. We are appealing to the Commission to review the allowances so that the registration work is not unnecessarily disrupted,” the officer said.

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