Collin Potakana, Electoral Manager for the Western Province. Photo credit @ Alfred Pagepitu


THE Western Province Electoral Manager, Collin Potakana, has addressed numerous queries regarding the recruitment of polling officials for the 2024 Joint Election in the Western Province.

Potakana, who also serves as the Electrol Manager in the Western Province, acknowledged that his office has received complaints from applicants who were not shortlisted.

These concerns have arisen due to discrepancies between the Master List from the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) and the list of Returning Officers, just six days before the poll on Friday last week.

In response, Potakana provided clarification on the recruitment process for polling officials, particularly those assigned to various polling stations. He highlighted the introduction of a new system called Temporarily Employed Work (TEW), which has seen a significant number of applications.

“This is a new system that we have implemented, ensuring that the names of all applicants are already in the system,” Potakana stated. “We have published advertisements to inform interested individuals about the opportunity to apply.”

He further elaborated, “Once you submit your application, it will go through our recruitment process. This is a new system that we have introduced.”

Potakana emphasized that this new system may be unfamiliar to some applicants since, in the past, there were no published advertisements, and polling officials were simply appointed without an extensive selection process.

He clarified that in this year’s election, a new tool has been introduced where applications are submitted and registered in the master list.

“After submission, your application is sent to our head office in Honiara and registered through the data system,” Potakana explained.

He outlined the criteria that applicants must meet to be considered for the positions, including experience, health and fitness, education, conflict of interest, and the submission of relevant certificates and references.

“These are the six criteria that the Electoral Commission and Returning Officers take into account,” Potakana explained. “A master list has been created, and those who met the requirements and criteria have been included.”

Potakana acknowledged that some individuals had raised complaints about not being selected, but he clarified that it does not necessarily mean they were rejected. It may indicate that they did not meet the specified criteria.

“I want to express my gratitude to all the applicants, even if your names are not displayed. Thank you for showing interest,” Potakana expressed.

He concluded by stating that all the necessary preparations, training, and workshops for the polling officials have been successfully completed. Yesterday, they concluded, and today they are expected to commence their duties in preparation for the polling day on Wednesday 17 April.


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