By WILSON SAENI
A GROUP of voters in Ward 17 in East Kwaio Constituency, Malaita Province said they will not cast their votes in the April 3 national general election, unless they are paid with cash.
The group’s spokesman and Chief, Jack Gege said they came up with the decision to trade their votes for cash after missing out from constituency projects over the past years.
“We will only cast our ballot papers if any intending candidate gives us cash money.
“We are firm with our decision because we have not benefited from any government or constituency project for the last 10-15 years,” Chief Gege reiterates the group’s demand.
According to Chief Gege from Darisaia village, he said the youths are taking a bold stand where he said the only reason to get them to vote in the upcoming National Election is to pay for their ballot papers.
He also confirmed that the group which consists of youths are from the following six polling stations in Ward 17: Ogou, Fataolo, Oboanaero, Atoifi, Kennan, and Na'au.
They believe that even if they voted a new leader, the style of help will remain the same where the MP will always support few cronies while turning a blind eye towards the rest of the youths.
“We have observed over the years that only few have benefited from small gifts from the national leader or Member of Parliament (MP).
“We have been blinded for far too long and we are sick and tired of seeing projects and benefits being enjoyed by other voters and not us.
“Therefore, we decided that this time around, it is our time to play our cards,” Chief Gege told Solomon Star Auki, in an interview.
However, it is understood that this might be a breach to the Electoral Act 2018 as it can be seen as an act of bribery. Under law, a person can be fined up to SBD$150,000 penalty units or imprisonment for 15 years, or both.
Comments are being sought from the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) office, regarding this matter.