Caricom election observation mission arrives in St Kitts & Nevis
Basseterre – A four-member Caricom election observation mission arrived on Wednesday in St Kitts & Nevis ahead of Friday’s general election.
The Caricom Election Observation Mission (CEOM), headed by Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Sase Gunraj.
The CEOM also includes Corey Greenidge from Barbados, Cecil Valies of Suriname, and Roslyn Khan-Cummings from Trinidad & Tobago and was mounted following an invitation from the government of the two-island federation on July 26.
The CEOM is supported by Jhonson Alexandre and Alan Donawa of the Caricom Secretariat.
In an arrival statement issued late Wednesday, Gunraj said the CEOM members met virtually with the Governor General, the Commissioner of Police, and a team from the St Kitts & Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), led by the Leader of the Opposition Dr Denzil Douglas, prior to their arrival.
They also intended to pay a courtesy call to Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris, meet with the supervisor of elections and representatives of other contesting political parties, as well as other key stakeholders and representatives of civil society groups, and attend rallies “all in an effort to obtain an overview of the general atmosphere and level of preparedness for the electoral process”.
The role of the CEOM is to observe the electoral process and collect qualitative and quantitative information regarding the voting process and the results to facilitate the preparation of a final report on the elections.
“The CEOM will continue to observe the pre-election period and on Election Day monitor activities in as many of the constituencies as possible, including the opening, conduct, and closing of the polls through to the tabulation and announcement of the results,” Gunraj said.
Following the conclusion of the elections, the Caricom mission will issue a preliminary statement outlining its initial assessment of the electoral process.
Members will later collaborate in the preparation of the final report on the election for submission to Cariccom Secretary General, Dr Carla Barnett.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) also deployed an electoral observation mission to St Kitts & Nevis.
At least 32 candidates representing six political parties were nominated last Tuesday to contest the general election that Prime Minister Harris was forced to call three years ahead of the constitutional deadline because of a rift within his government.
In Friday’s vote, 11 seats in the 15-member Parliament will be up for grabs. The remaining four legislators will be nominated by the Governor General after the elections.