Travel surges as voters return to register

Travel surges as voters return to register

AS the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise progresses nationwide, more and more voters are heading back to the provinces to get themselves registered for the first-ever synchronised 2024 National General Election (NGE).

Since the BVR started on Monday last week, a growing number of citizens are embarking on boat journeys back to their home constituencies to get registered.

Western Province, characterised by its vast geographical scatteredness, is seeing people heading to their respective home islands for the BVR.

This mass movement of people is a testament to the commitment of Solomon Islands citizens to actively engage in the democratic process of electing parliamentarians.

In a bid to get into Parliament, intending candidates are finding all the means to get their supporters to register at the nearest polling station.

There are claims of voters even crossing provincial borders to participate in the registration process, reflecting the significance of this upcoming national general election.

A person who travelled from Honiara to Gizo yesterday and told Solomon Star that many voters have boarded MV Fair Glory on Sunday and travelled back to their home constituencies where their names have been registered.

There were a number of cross borders too, it was claimed.

“Many have been dropped off at their ports, starting from Munda to Gizo,” the passenger who declined to reveal his identity said.

Last weekend, the Point Cruz wharf in Honiara very busy as people flocked to board the MV Fair Glory.

The ship was filled to capacity.

The MV Fair Glory during its voyage to the Western Province last weekend. Photo, Ulutah Gina.

The excitement amongst passengers was obvious as they shared their aspirations and hopes for the future of the nation during the voyage.

Despite the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters demonstrated their unwavering commitment to the democratic process.

The 2024 NGE is proposed for April and around 400, 000 voters are expected to cast their votes.

The National Government has budgeted some $200 million to fund the election.

“$90 million from that amount would be spent on training, voter registration as well as compilation of the final voter list,” insiders said.

Donors have also provided significant support towards the 2024 election process.

The current 11th Parliament will be dissolved on 31 December 2023.

It would be followed by a two-month election campaign, expected to start in early February 2024 and polling is scheduled for 17 April.

In April 2019 NGE, a total of 359,522 Solomon Islanders registered to vote in the elections which is an increase of 72,000 from the 2014 NGE.

Solomon Star, Gizo