STATEMENT FROM MR. SURESH CHANDRA

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

 

21 February 2017

 

On 3 February 2017, I and six others were appointed by His Excellency the President as Electoral Commissioners in accordance with Section 75 of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji.

 

In accordance with Section 75 of the Constitution, the Electoral Commission is responsible for the following in addition to any other powers under any other law:

  1. the registration of citizens as voters, and the regular revision of the Register of Voters;
  2. voter education;
  3. the registration of candidates for election;
  4. the settlement of electoral disputes, including disputes relating to or arising from nominations, but excluding election petitions and disputes subsequent to the declaration of election results; and
  5. monitoring and enforcing compliance with any written law governing elections and political parties.

 

As Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, I will work alongside my fellow Commissioners, the Supervisor of Elections and the Fijian Elections Office to ensure that all election activities are conducted in line with the Fijian Constitution and all other laws governing elections and that all Fijians receive election services of the highest possible quality.

 

I commend the FEO on the work achieved so far in preparation for the upcoming General Election and look forward to doing my part to contribute to these preparatory efforts.

 

I have already led our first meeting today at which it was decided to award the seat vacated in Parliament due to the resignation of Roko Tupou Draunidalo to Mr. Pramod Chand of the National Federation Party.

 

I speak on behalf of the entire Electoral Commission when I express our steadfast commitment to adhere to the highest standards of transparency, fairness and accountability in our work alongside our partners leading up to the 2018 General Election.

 

— ENDS —

First Aid and CPR Training

Address by Supervisor of Elections,

Mr Mohammed Saneem

First Aid and CPR Training

16 November 2016

 

 

 

Mr. Riaz, Facilitator Fiji Red Cross

Participants

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all

 

I warmly welcome you to this two-day First Aid & CPR Training.

 

For most participants this is the first time to attend this Fijian Electoral Education Centre (FEEC) organized training on First Aid and CPR which is in line with Fijian Elections Office [FEO] Strategic Goal: 8 Objective 3 which is to provide capacity building programs for the Fijian Elections Office staff.

 

It is important for everyone to have basic knowledge on first aid. This is because the first assistance or treatment, which is given to a person in case of sudden injury or illness prior to getting professional care is significantly important in saving the lives, promote recovery and to prevent further damage to injured person.

 

Not every incident that requires first aid is a life-or-death situation, but first aid can help in minor incidents. You will get all the information you need from this training – and I am confident you will remember it when you are faced with real life situation.

 

We know you won’t always have specialist first aid equipment on hand, but this training will show you how to improvise in an emergency. After all this is “first aid” – you need to be able to act before the professionals get there.

 

Imagine everything that First aid may help to improve; from the outcome of many accidents, before professional medical help arrives. Such help may at times make a difference between life and death.  To sustaining the injured and helping prevent the condition from worsening. First Aid can also help hasten recovery in some situations. If I had to choose another good substitute for the term “first aid”, it would be “miracle”.

 

You would be pleased to know that being first aid ready is essentially easy. Done with your family and friends it can also be fun. As you will all to get to witness from the exhibits and demonstrations today and tomorrow, it doesn’t take much to learn how to bandage a fractured arm, stem bleeding, help a chocking victim or provide cardio pulmonary resuscitation(CPR) or the ‘kiss of life’ [as it is affectionately called] to someone who has lost consciousness and is not breathing. Acquiring these skills could in future help a family member, a friend or your next-door neighbor.

 

I also want to talk to you about worker safety. Every year, numerous workers are injured around the world which results in them missing work. Thankfully, at the FEO our safety record is better than the general workforce.

 

Whilst our workplace safety figures is not a concern, as your employer, as your Supervisor, I am responsible and devoted to creating a habit of excellence. I believe that safety will be an indicator that we’re making progress in changing our habits across the entire organisation. That’s how we should be judged.

 

I am indeed very encouraged to see all invited staff present this morning and would like to commend FEEC for organizing this two-days training.

 

I am also be very encouraged to see the participation of the Fiji Red Cross  in joining hands with FEO to heighten awareness of the importance of first aid in our workplace and thereon, our community.

 

Which is why we’re grateful that Red Cross, an organization that is well known for its disaster response activities, will be assisting in this training. As an organisation which primes itself for emergency and disaster response, it plays an integral role in promoting first aid readiness and equipping Fijians with lifesaving skills that would not only be useful during disasters, but also to face emergencies when they occur in daily situations.

 

I would like to take the opportunity to wish all participants well during this two-day training and also congratulate you in advance. You have certainly helped to reinforce the importance of first aid in this organisation.

 

Remember First aid doesn’t just facilitate recovery. It helps save lives.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

—ENDS—

Address by Supervisor of Elections

Mr Mohammed Saneem

Signing of Terms of Reference

 Electoral Security Advisory Group

Fijian Election Office, Fiji Police Force and Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption

15 November 2016

 

Commissioner of Police

Deputy Commissioner, Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption

Colleagues of the Electoral Security Advisory Group

Members of the Media

 

 

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

 

I would like to welcome you all to the signing of the Terms of Reference, Electoral Security Advisory Group [ESAG] between, Fijian Elections Office [FEO], Fiji Police Force and Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption [FICAC].

This group “Electoral Security Advisory Group” stemmed after the Electoral Risk Management Workshop, which was conducted by International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, IDEA, in April this year.

 

The workshop was attended by Fiji Police, FICAC and FEO and they collectively agreed that a working committee, Election Security Advisory Group be formed and be responsible in planning for electoral security for the next General election.

 

After the formalization of this Terms of Reference, the working group will have regular meetings to discuss and evaluate the security situation specially reflated to electoral activities only and provide necessary recommendations to FEO and SoE.

 

It is an internationally recognized electoral principle to have peaceful elections. Security is inescapable in this process and can affect both the actual, and perceived, legitimacy of the electoral outcomes.  An equitably secure environment for electoral participants is fundamental to their engagement in the process, and by extension, the goal of an election itself.

 

Thus it is imperative to draw on information and expertise from security agencies and develop communications and coordination among the agencies responsible for the administration and security of an elections.

 

This is a strategic endeavor between FEO and the security partners, Fiji Police and FICAC in anticipating and pre-empting security risks, mitigating their impact or probability of occurrence.

 

The core responsibilities of the ESAG will be:

  1. Review and analyse the FEO Operations Plans to identify and highlight security issues that are likely to arise;
  2. Based on the issues highlighted in (1) above, provide feedback and recommendations to resolve the security issues;
  3. Utilize the FEO Operations Plans to make necessary arrangements to properly discharge their respective duties under the Electoral Decree;
  4. Make use of the most latest technology and methodology to ensure efficient and secure conduct of elections; and
  5. Establish an appropriate communication mechanism between all the organizations during the election period.

 

The FEO will provide the necessary facilities for the proper functioning of the ESAG. FEO will also provide equipment and secretariat services to the ESAG.

 

It is expected for ESAG to meet as necessary during key periods of operations. ESAG operations team may meet on a monthly basis and even at more regular intervals closer to elections. The group may also create ad-hoc working committees on specific topics to ensure proper delivery of this TOR.

 

ESAG aims to provide all organisations a common platform for information exchange whilst fully maintaining their utmost independence.

 

I wish ESAG all the best in the   planning for electoral security for the 2018 General election.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

—ENDS—

Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections [BRIDGE] Training program

Closing Remarks, Fijian Electoral Commission Chairman, Mr Chen Bunn Young

The Supervisor of Elections,

Participants,

Colleagues from the Fijian Elections Office.

 

Bula Vinaka

It is my pleasure to join you for the closing of this training program on an internationally recognised electoral programme ‘Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections’ [BRIDGE].

 

But first of all I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Fijian Elections Office [FEO] for organizing this important BRIDGE training program ‘Introduction to Elections’.

I understand FEO embarked on this early commission of training for political party agent to give effect to the Multinational Observer Group [MOG] Report recommendations.

 

The MOG report stated that ‘more comprehensive training for party polling agents on their role and responsibilities in the electoral process should be provided by political parties or other responsible bodies’.

 

This BRIDGE Module had provided participants with valuable knowledge about elections – the processes that are involved, as well as allowed participants to conduct comparisons with practices from the region.

 

I would like to thank all of you here for making this training a success through your valuable contributions and active participation throughout the training and especially during the question and answer sessions.

 

The aim of this training was to provoke discussions among members of different political parties and FEO over the best ways to conduct the 2018 general elections.

 

And a special appreciation to the lead facilitator for the workshop Mr. Brian Latham and co facilitators, Ms Hamidan Bibi and Ms Ana Mataiciwa for an excellent coordination and execution of this training program.

 

As the three days training program concludes today, my message to the political parties as we lead up to 2018 general elections, is for political parties to maintain constant contact with FEO and take advantage of such trainings, so that they are well versed with the best electoral practices.

 

I urge all the political parties to assist FEO in creating voter awareness, and become advocates in promoting to electorates the importance of participating in electoral process. This electoral capacity building should be carried out on a continuous basis and not just to the lead up to the 2018 general elections.

 

This is our closing ceremony but I hope this closing will not be the end but the beginning of our concerted efforts on sharing best international electoral practices.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

 

—ENDS—

Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections [BRIDGE] workshop

Speech by the Supervisor of Elections

 

H.E. Mr.Mark Ramsden,

Participants,

Colleagues from the Fijian Elections Office,

And the media

 

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

 

I would like to welcome you all to the three day workshop on an internationally recognised electoral programme ‘Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections’ [BRIDGE].

 

All BRIDGE training programs are organised in line with FEO’s Strategic Plan Goal 8 which is to enhance knowledge and skills of the FEO staff and stakeholders through training and capacity building.

 

The BRIDGE Module titled ‘Introduction to Elections’ will provide participants with valuable knowledge about elections – the processes that are involved, as well as allow participants to conduct comparisons with practices from the region.

 

Organised by the FEO education and capacity building arm, Fijian Electoral Education Centre [FEEC], the workshop reflects on the need for political party agent training for the 2018 General Election as highlighted by the Multinational Observer Group [MOG].

 

The MOG Report states that ‘more comprehensive training for party polling agents on their role and responsibilities in the electoral process should be provided by political parties or other responsible bodies’.

 

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, in line with this reflection, FEO has conducted seven [7] BRIDGE training workshops since 2015.

 

To give effect to the Multinational Observer Group Report recommendations, FEO has opted to obtain services of a highly accredited international facilitator, Mr. Brian Latham, and also a very learned set of co-facilitators in the field of elections.

 

The lead facilitator for the workshop Mr. Latham comes with a broad experience in BRIDGE. In the BRIDGE field for the past thirteen [13] years, Mr Latham has worked as a lead/accrediting facilitator,facilitator and participant in various BRIDGE workshops globally including Civic Education Module Workshop – Leadership Post-Conflict in Nepal, Voter Education and Gender and Election Modules in Australia, Train-the-Facilitator in Fiji and Indonesia amongst numerous other workshops.

 

This will be the second workshop Mr. Latham will be facilitating for Political Parties, the first being an Electoral Contestants module and Introduction to Electoral Administration module in Bhutan in 2012.

 

Ms Hamidan Bibi is one of the co-facilitators who also comes with a vast experience in BRIDGE having nine [9] years of experience as the International Accredited Workshop Facilitator/Trainer for BRIDGE International Project for over 23 modules, including Training the Facilitators.

 

The second co-facilitator, Ms Ana Mataiciwa, Legal Compliance Coordinator at the Fijian Elections Office [FEO], is a fully accredited BRIDGE Facilitator and has experience in facilitating the ‘Introduction to Election’, ‘Election Security’ and ‘Disabilities Rights and Election Training’ Modules.

 

On behalf of the Fijian Elections Office, I wish you all the best for the three [3] days workshop and urge  all participants to pick up on key basic knowledge in the field of election which will assist them to better prepare themselves and their parties for future elections.

 

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu

 

–ENDS–

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