In a media release, the Office of the Prime Minister said the Commonwealth Secretariat has confirmed that a 3-member observer team, “will be dispatched for the period of July 22 to 26, 2015, in advance of the upcoming elections.” The team comprises: Martin Kasirye, Adviser and Head, Electoral Support Section; Sarah Linton, Political Officer, Caribbean and Pacific Section; and Madonna Lynch, Programme Assistant.
“Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has reiterated her commitment to the preservation and development of Trinidad and Tobago’s democracy, and is determined to maintain the government’s history of integrity and transparency,” the Office of the Prime Minister said. It noted Persad-Bissessar had indicated her desire for the presence of a technical team from the Commonwealth Observer Group when she met with Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma during 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in Bridgetown earlier this month.
The responsibility for requesting international observers is that of the Cabinet. In all elections since 2000 there have been observers. Observers from Caricom were present for the elections in 2000, 2001, 2007, and 2010.
There have also been observers throughout the years from the Commonwealth Secretariat. In the past these observer missions have repeatedly reported some problems in the system of voting. However, all elections have been deemed free and fair.
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in May called for international observers.
Responding to news of the three member Commonwealth observer team coming to this country, People’s National Movement (PNM) political leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said, “They are welcome. They are an assessment group.”
Rowley, who is also the PNM’s prospective Diego Martin West candidate, disclosed, “They meet with me on Friday morning.”
Rowley sent a similar letter on May 29 to the Commonwealth Secretariat, requesting the group also send election observers to Trinidad and Tobago.