Premier of Nevis Hon. Joseph Parry welcomed representatives of the Caricom (Caribbean Community) Electoral Observer Team late Friday, during a fact finding mission to Nevis, ahead of the Federation’s General Elections on Monday January 25, 2010.
In brief comments after the meeting at his Bath Hotel office, Mr. Parry said it was good to see Caricom involved in the electoral process, aside from the other work they have been involved in, in member states.
“As an observer team they should make sure and I’m sure they will, that everything goes well and at the end of this exercise, we will see the reports. I hope that everything will be alright. I am very pleased to have them, I welcome them to Nevis [and] I welcome them to our General Elections,” he said.
The two member team was made up of Project Officer in the Caricom Secretariat based in Guyana Ms. Mignon Bowen and Chief Elections Officer in the Electoral Department of St. Lucia Mr. Carson Raggie.
Meantime, Ms. Bowen explained that their visit to Nevis was part of the team’s effort to meet with the various stakeholders for to gather information before Monday’s poll.
“We are more or less trying to gather as much information as possible in terms of your preparations. We are quite pleased with how things have gone so far.
“We have learnt of your new Voter ID card which is a very good move and we have heard very positive comments about that but there are still some concerns about the final list,” she said.
The Caricom Official gave an insight into the group’s plans on elections day but up to Friday, was uncertain whether a member of the team would be posted on Nevis. However, she noted that the team, which also included electoral officials from member states, would be out early Monday morning, to witness the process.
“We are still to decide if we are going to send someone over to Nevis but we are going to be posted on the mainland and we are going to cover all the polling districts on St. Kitts.
“We are going to be out early so we should witness the opening of the polls, voting process, the counting of the ballots as well as the close of the poll and we will be there to observe the results as they come in,” she said.
Mr. Raggie added that apart from monitoring to ensure the electoral process was free and fair, the team had gathered information from stakeholders who had concerns about registration. He said the team would use the opportunity to observe and to make a determination whether those concerns were negative or positive.
At the end of the General Elections the Caricom Observer Team who is in the Federation under the direction of Secretary General of Caricom the Hon. Edwin Carrington, will present its findings to him, since the invitation for Caricom to mount an Electoral Observer Mission came from Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Hon. Denzil Douglas.
The report would then be made available after a Heads of Government meeting to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.