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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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EBC: Observers at elections since 2000

INTERNATIONAL observers have been present for every general election since 2000, chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Dr Norbert Masson yesterday said as he further indicated such observers are likely be here again this year for elections.

The EBC chairman said observers from Caricom were present for the elections in 2000, 2001, 2007, and 2010. He also said there have been observers throughout the years from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“I would imagine that we will have Caricom observers for this year but it is not my place to make a definitive statement on that,” Masson said. “This is because while there is no law specifying international observers be here, a practice has developed where the Prime Minister of the day invites international observers.”

Of the EBC’s preparation for this year’s election, Masson said, “We actually go around and observe at different parts of the country. It’s a work in progress. We are working. We have started training poll day staff.” Of concerns that an election in September could straddle budgetary periods, Masson said the 2014/2015 budget, “was prepared with certain sums mindful that it was an election year.”

On Sunday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley called for CARICOM observers for the elections, saying he did not recall whether Caricom ever sent election observers to this country before. However, a check through several press clippings reveal several reports detailing various international observers throughout the years.

For example, in 2010 there was a 32-member Caricom electoral observer mission.

In October 2007, Newsday reported the arrival of an advance group led by Sir Richard Cheltenham QC of Barbados. The observer mission comprised some 20 observers. In 2001, a 14-member Caricom observer team was deployed throughout the country for the General Election. That mission reported problems with the voter list.

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