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Observers generally pleased with conduct of St. Kitts-Nevis elections

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Feb 18, CMC – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) team that observed Monday’s general election here said the elections process “had the potential to disturb and even disrupt the electors’ peaceful exercise of their franchise,” but praised the voters of St. Kitts-Nevis “for their enlightened response to these challenges”.

The CARICOM team headed by the former chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Rudy Collins, said it focused its attention on the conduct of the elections itself and observed the activities at over 50 of the 123 polling stations.

“The process in virtually every instance was orderly and appears to have been administered within the context of all the relevant laws, rules and regulations,” the CARICOM team said, noting “the elections process, in its legal, institutional and operational aspects, presented numerous challenges that had the potential to disturb and even disrupt the electors’ peaceful exercise of their franchise”.

The mission said that it was commending the voters for their “enlightened response to these challenges” adding “the maturity of their response resulted in the satisfactory conclusion of all the activities on elections day, free of any significant incident that would inhibit the exercise of their democratic right to vote for the candidate of their choice”.

It said it was against this background that it was “deeply concerned” at the delay in publicly communicating the results of the poll.

Supervisor of Elections, Wingrove George, defended his decision to delay the announcement of the winner of the elections,  and apologised to the nation “for the length of time this might have taken, but we have to remember that sometimes to be sure we have to take our time.

“The writ issued by the Governor General to the Returning Officers they have up until the 18th (February) to give me the final decision. “So even though it might be long, it is not unlawful, it is not illegal and they would not go wrong in taking their time to do what they have to do.

“Like I said…there were certain processes to go through, we had challenges, we had reviews, and it would have been very unprofessional of me, as Supervisor of Elections to go and make announcements while the whole process will be revisited because if anything was to take a different turn I would have had to be updating and retracting statements,” George said.

The CARICOM team said that it would analyse the expressions of various stakeholders with whom it held meetings that included ” uncomfortable frankness” of the “many legal, institutional and administrative challenges with which they had to cope and which in their collective view had an ongoing impact on the effectiveness the St. Kitts and Nevis elections process as a whole.

The team added it would be making “substantive recommendations for future action to be initiated by the CARICOM Secretariat, towards ensuring that common regional standards become the hallmark of elections in member states of the Caribbean Community”.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS/EOM) said it has noted that the delay in counting and announcing the winner of the elections, won by Team Unity, an amalgam of three opposition parties, were related to two main issues.

“First, counting started late due to instructions given to returning officers with regard to the transportation of the ballot boxes of the early voting, carried out on February 14 for essential services personnel and security forces. Second, challenges were presented during the counting process and some of the results were presented during the counting process and some of the results were being contested.”

The OAS team said it was congratulating Prime Minister-elect Timothy Harris and the St. Kitts and Nevis Team Unity for the victory “and calls on all actors to respect the official results announced by the electoral authorities.

“The OAS/EOM considers that, at this point, priority should be given to a calm and orderly transition. Nonetheless, a number of technical and procedural issues observed during this electoral process should be addressed during a post electoral period. In this sense, and in the spirit of helping the electoral authorities and citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis strengthen their democratic process, the Observation Mission will be issuing a more detailed report with its observations and recommendations.”

Montserrat to look at CPA BIMR Report on its elections

2014 CPA Observer Mission

Meanwhile in Montserrat, the Electoral Commission Chairman here, Sir Howard Fergus has promised to issue a statement that the Commission has begun looking at the Report the Observer Mission who observed last September’s General Elections in Montserrat.

The mission was the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR) who was “officially invited by Governor Adrian Davis to deploy an independent Mission. The report contains thirteen (13) recommendations.

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Feb 18, CMC – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) team that observed Monday’s general election here said the elections process “had the potential to disturb and even disrupt the electors’ peaceful exercise of their franchise,” but praised the voters of St. Kitts-Nevis “for their enlightened response to these challenges”.

The CARICOM team headed by the former chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, Rudy Collins, said it focused its attention on the conduct of the elections itself and observed the activities at over 50 of the 123 polling stations.

“The process in virtually every instance was orderly and appears to have been administered within the context of all the relevant laws, rules and regulations,” the CARICOM team said, noting “the elections process, in its legal, institutional and operational aspects, presented numerous challenges that had the potential to disturb and even disrupt the electors’ peaceful exercise of their franchise”.

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The mission said that it was commending the voters for their “enlightened response to these challenges” adding “the maturity of their response resulted in the satisfactory conclusion of all the activities on elections day, free of any significant incident that would inhibit the exercise of their democratic right to vote for the candidate of their choice”.

It said it was against this background that it was “deeply concerned” at the delay in publicly communicating the results of the poll.

Supervisor of Elections, Wingrove George, defended his decision to delay the announcement of the winner of the elections,  and apologised to the nation “for the length of time this might have taken, but we have to remember that sometimes to be sure we have to take our time.

“The writ issued by the Governor General to the Returning Officers they have up until the 18th (February) to give me the final decision. “So even though it might be long, it is not unlawful, it is not illegal and they would not go wrong in taking their time to do what they have to do.

“Like I said…there were certain processes to go through, we had challenges, we had reviews, and it would have been very unprofessional of me, as Supervisor of Elections to go and make announcements while the whole process will be revisited because if anything was to take a different turn I would have had to be updating and retracting statements,” George said.

The CARICOM team said that it would analyse the expressions of various stakeholders with whom it held meetings that included ” uncomfortable frankness” of the “many legal, institutional and administrative challenges with which they had to cope and which in their collective view had an ongoing impact on the effectiveness the St. Kitts and Nevis elections process as a whole.

The team added it would be making “substantive recommendations for future action to be initiated by the CARICOM Secretariat, towards ensuring that common regional standards become the hallmark of elections in member states of the Caribbean Community”.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS/EOM) said it has noted that the delay in counting and announcing the winner of the elections, won by Team Unity, an amalgam of three opposition parties, were related to two main issues.

“First, counting started late due to instructions given to returning officers with regard to the transportation of the ballot boxes of the early voting, carried out on February 14 for essential services personnel and security forces. Second, challenges were presented during the counting process and some of the results were presented during the counting process and some of the results were being contested.”

The OAS team said it was congratulating Prime Minister-elect Timothy Harris and the St. Kitts and Nevis Team Unity for the victory “and calls on all actors to respect the official results announced by the electoral authorities.

“The OAS/EOM considers that, at this point, priority should be given to a calm and orderly transition. Nonetheless, a number of technical and procedural issues observed during this electoral process should be addressed during a post electoral period. In this sense, and in the spirit of helping the electoral authorities and citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis strengthen their democratic process, the Observation Mission will be issuing a more detailed report with its observations and recommendations.”

Montserrat to look at CPA BIMR Report on its elections

2014 CPA Observer Mission

Meanwhile in Montserrat, the Electoral Commission Chairman here, Sir Howard Fergus has promised to issue a statement that the Commission has begun looking at the Report the Observer Mission who observed last September’s General Elections in Montserrat.

The mission was the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR) who was “officially invited by Governor Adrian Davis to deploy an independent Mission. The report contains thirteen (13) recommendations.