15 September 2021
Today, Wednesday 15 September, is International Day of Democracy. This UN observed day ‘provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world.’
On their website*, the UN states that ‘Democracy is as much a process as a goal…The values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage are essential elements of democracy. In turn, democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights.’
Democracies exist to protect the best interests of the people and where people can impact important decisions through the people they elect.
The democratic process is exercised on St Helena through a General Election held every four years. The next General Election will take place on 13 October and it is hoped that as many residents as possible who are on the updated Register of Electors will exercise their democratic right through either standing as a Councillor, supporting someone to be a Councillor or by voting on Polling Day. Next month’s General Election will be historic as it will be the first under a Ministerial system of Government.
St Helena’s Elections process is guided by the Constitution of St Helena and the Elections Ordinance, 2009 which provide for the election of members to the Legislative Council of St Helena. The ordinance is underpinned by accompanying Regulations and is available online here: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Elections-Ord-Updated-220621.pdf. Also for the first time on St Helena the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region will conduct a virtual ‘Election Expert Mission’ to monitor this year’s General Election: https://www.uk-cpa.org/programmes-activities/election-expert-mission-to-the-st-helena-general-election/
In the lead up to next month’s General Election you are encouraged to exercise your democratic right by standing to be a Councillor, sponsoring or nominating somebody to be a Councillor or voting on Polling Day. This is your opportunity to make a difference for yourself and your Island.
15 September 2021