Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) says it has successfully completed its election awareness programme in Gela last week.
The awareness was carried out by SIDT’s awareness team and it involves drama and talks.
SIDT’s Joseph Atkin said the awareness focuses on equal and fair elections, as the national prepares for the national polls this year.
“There were 10 of us on the team,” Atkin said.
“The message is every registered voter have the right to choose whoever they believe would represent them in parliament,” he added.
“We told the people no one else have the right to influence their choice, and that their choice is personal.”
Atkin said the awareness program was aimed at informing village people to understand their rights to vote and what a fair and unbiased election entails.
He said they visited 20 villages where they performed dramas about fair election, and another 25 where they provided awareness talks and give out brochures.
“This is the first time such awareness was carried out in as many villages. The people appreciate what we did, saying it helped them a lot as they prepare for the elections.
“Some people told us this sort of awareness should have been carried out earlier before the registration process to avoid people selling their voter ID cards,” he said.
Atkin said they’ve faced many challenges during the exercise but were able to complete the task.
“I do hope the people of Gela are ready to cast their votes come election time.
“It’s good to see them understand their rights and knowing the importance of elections.
“I just like to take this opportunity, too, to thank them for accepting us into their communities.”
Atkin said the awareness program was funded by the European Union.
Meanwhile, he said this week , they’ll head across to the Russell islands to do similar awareness there.
Solomon Islands development trust awareness team this week will tour Russell islands to undergo election awareness in the communities.
He said they will first visit the community of Nukuvero, before venturing out to other villages.
“Like on Gela, the awareness in the Russells will feature drama performances and talks,” Atkin said.
He assured people in the Russells that the awareness program will held them to understand their voting rights.
Atkin said the awareness will also help the villagers understand what is biased and unbiased election practices.
· When people receive money ($$$) from candidate to vote for him or her
· Candidate promises you that if he or she wins, you will get money or other resources after the election
· Candidate promises or supporters threaten voters to vote for them or some of their interest.
· Voters ask money or other things from candidate promising that they will vote for him or her
· Husband forces family members to vote for the candidate of the husband’s choice.
· The voters sell your ID card to the candidate for money and other things.
Unbiased election practices:
· Does not deprive your democratic right as a voter to choose a candidate of your choice. For it is justice, truth and freedom
· You as voter don’t fall into the trap of biased practice.
· You don’t commit any offences that are stipulate as offence under the electoral act.
Atkinsaid this is a chance for the people of the Russells to learn about the importance of an election to the country and its people.
“It is a chance that everybody should come to attend and learn something new as they prepare for this year’s election.”
He said from the Russells, the team would move to the nearby island of Savo, before returning to Honiara.
BY SOLOMON LOFANA