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GEORGETOWN – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Election Observer Mission (CEOM) that monitored Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections in Haiti said Tuesday that it was generally pleased with the conduct of the long delayed poll.
In a statement, the CEOM said that it had observed more than 300 polling stations and that the officers of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) “not only displayed an improved competence, but a uniform execution of their duties,” on Sunday.
It said it visited polling stations in three districts in and neighbouring the capital city Port-au-Prince, including areas affected by Hurricane Matthew that tore through the country on October 4.
CEOM said that it noted “the bold step by the CEP to convene the elections so close after Hurricane Matthew had wreaked havoc on the country” and that in its initial assessments, it was assured the Haitian election management body was well prepared.
“Staff were trained, committed and dedicated to effectively conduct the elections for president and senators. The CEOM, with its tested and proven technical officers from six CARICOM member states, collectively visited and keenly monitored well over 300 polling stations.
“The overall considered opinion is that compared with the 25 October 2015 poll, on this occasion the CEP officers at the Polling Stations not only displayed an improved competence, but a uniform execution of their duties. The team attributed this noticeable amelioration to the training of poll staff conducted by the CEP. With few exceptions the poll staff treated CEOM members with the utmost respect, and demonstrated a genuine willingness to accommodate queries,” the statement said.
The CEOM, which was led by the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Dr Steve Surujbally, said it would specify and recommend new improvements in its final report, but noted that many of the lapses observed were “not of any great consequence or of the nature to disturb the electoral results.”
No official results are expected to be issued for eight days, and the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) executive director Uder Antoine has said it might take longer than that. (CMC)