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Melanesian Spearhead Group Observer Group commences preparations in Honiara
4:58 pm GMT+12, 24/03/2019, Solomon Islands

An advance team from the MSG Secretariat is in Honiara and have commenced preparations for the MSG Observer Group MSG) to arrive this week before deployment mission commences close to the days leading up to the National General Election on 3 April.  
 
The Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli said that preparations in Honiara are progressing very well, and that the Secretariat have finalised the deployment programme.
 
Ambassador Yauvoli, said that the MSG Secretariat advance team in Honiara had been able to Observe the Pre-Polling on 21 March conducted for Police Officers in Honiara. He said preliminary indications received from the advance team, is that the Pre-Polling in Honiara was conducted in a professional and procedural manner which itself was a manifestation to the considerable preparations and efforts done by the Solomon Islands government through the Electoral Commission in ensuring a successful free and fair election.
 
Ambassador, Yauvoli expressed his profound appreciation to the Solomon Islands Government for their unwavering support and confidence to the MSGOG since their formal invitation to the MSG Secretariat in December 2018.  
 
The Director General said that as a Melanesian Sub Regional Organisation, and the need to strengthen electoral processes and governance in Melanesia, the MSG Secretariat had participated in previous National Elections in four Member countries since the inception of the Election Observation programme in 2014. These include Observations in the 2014 and 2018 Fiji Elections, the 2016 Snap Elections in Vanuatu, the 2017 National Elections in Papua New Guinea and the Referendum of Independence in New Caledonia in November 2018.

For Solomon Islands in particular, it will be the first time for the MSG Secretariat to conduct Election Observations there since the revamping of the Election Observations under the Political and Security Programme of the Secretariat.
 
The Director General said that this 2019 Election would be very interesting and it would also be the first election since the withdrawal of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in 2016 and hence a test to the steadfastness of the governance institutions of the country to prove the inevitable hope for a free and fair Election.
 
Ambassador Yauvoli said that Solomon Islands is the “Hapi Isles” of Melanesia and therefore he is optimistic that this election will bring renewed hope and vision for Solomon Island’s citizens present and future. He alluded to witnessing during the MSG’s Melanesian Arts Festival (MACFEST) hosted in Honiara in July 2018 how Solomon Islanders were enthusiastic and supportive for success which led to him believing that the same spirit will resonate to the NGE on 3 April 2019.
 
Ambassador, Yauvoli stressed that in terms of governance and democratic institutional strengthening, the MSG Secretariat will continue to work closely with the Electoral bodies of Member Countries including Solomon Islands, to strengthen their democratic processes and provide members with linkages to international assistance and trainings.  
 
The rest of the MSGOG will arrive into the country on Wednesday and will be headed by Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, a former Diplomat and Foreign Affairs Minister of Fiji, Leonard Louma, a Senior Civil Servant and former Diplomat of Papua New Guinea, Martin Tete the Electoral Chief of the Republic of Vanuatu, and Rodqigue Tiavouane a representative of the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.
 
The MSGOG will be accompanied by the Secretariat Staff, including the Director General Ambassador Amena Yauvoli, Program Manager for Political and Security Affairs Ilan Kiloe, Epineri Seibouma  - Peace and Security Officers, and Christopher Waiwori, Senior Executive Officer.   
 
The Melanesian Spearhead Group is an intergovernmental sub regional organization, composed of the four Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia (FLNKS).

SOURCE: MSG SECRETARIAT/PACNEWS


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