Govt. takes National Voters Day to Savai’i
The big island of Savai’i hosted the National Voter’s Day for the first time at the Apita Pisaga Hall, Salelologa.
Held on Friday, the commemoration featured debates, poems and a speech competition, with the election being a central theme.
The Minister of Justice and Courts Administration, Fa’aolesa Katopau Ainuu was present. He was joined by Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Simona Marinescu and the Electoral Commissioner, Faimalomatumua Mathew Lemisio.
The theme for this year’s commemoration was “know your elections.”
Minister Fa’aolesa said National Voter’s Day is one of the many tools the Office Electoral Commissioner (O.E.C.) uses to raise public awareness about elections.
“This is the third year since this initiative has been approved by Cabinet to stay true to the government’s mission of what’s good for the island of Upolu is also good for the island of Savai’i – it is only appropriate that Savai’i gets to host National Voters Day,” he said.
“I am confident that all in attendance will bear witness to the views of those who will take the floor with chosen topics formulated by the O.E.C. based on its relevance to Samoa’s elections and the dialogue of its every day Samoa.”
“Without doubt the views generated throughout today will be useful in the Electoral Commission and its crew’s preparation for our next elections in 2021.”
The day started with an invitation for Years 7 and 8 students to write a poem on the topic “What I know about Elections in Samoa.”
There was also a debate between two youth groups about the topic of “Should we allow Samoans living overseas to vote outside of Samoa on Election Day.”
“It is a forum to encourage free speech; I am supportive of this emphasis of this National Voters Day which is the youth,” the Minister said.
Fa’aolesa said that the youth are ideal citizens to discuss and address these matters because they have yet to develop political views and have no affiliations with the political world.
Representatives from Colleges in Savai’i then took part in a speech competition, addressing the issues of culture and modern government.
“On behalf of the Samoan Government, I extend our sincere gratitude to our overseas partners that has made this event possible because of their support and appreciation of the vision behind this initiative.”
“I acknowledge the people and government of Australia through its High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty and the United Nations resident coordinator, Simona Marinescu - I certainly hope that you will continue to support this initiative in the coming years as it will contribute immensely to the good governance in Samoa.”