Fiji Islands – THE Elections Office is preparing to look into the possibility of adopting a high-tech method in trying to redraw the electoral boundaries as required by the interim Government’s electoral reform policy.
Speaking to The Fiji Times yesterday Supervisor of Elections Felicity Heffernan said the Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS & RS) system is very critical in their work to take Fiji back to democratic rule.
“We are preparing under the Alternative Voting and the proposal for Preferential Representation as required by the government in redrawing the boundaries,” Ms Heffernan said. “This is the normal institutional strengthening that goes with this electoral cycle.”
At present there are two independent advisers – one each from the European Union and the University of the South Pacific. They’re advising Ms Heffernan on the best possible option that can be used by the Elections Office.
Ms Heffernan said several meetings have been completed and the consultation would carry on for some time before they reach a decision on what is best for Fiji.
GIS & RS specialist Dr Worlf Forstreuter said the new system would improve the management capability of any organisation that deals with people and resources. “Reports that we are getting right now are only descriptive but the GIS & RS system will tell us the number of people in a locality,” he said.
Dr Forstreuter said the system is good to the work of the Elections Office because it could reduce census errors. “On the technical side we can always help them but on the decision-making level it is difficult because it’s hard to bring them together,” he added.
Organisations and departments using the system are the Fiji Electricity Authority, Telecom Fiji and the Lands and Forestry ministries. Ms Heffernan was part of 200 participants from the region who gathered at the USP to exchange ideas on how the GIS & RS could be better utilised.