[www.inewsguyana.com] – With just five days before General and Regional elections, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Commonwealth Secretariat have deployed their teams to observe Guyana’s elections on May 11.
This is according to a release from the OAS which detailed that the members of the team arrived in Guyana on May 5. This is the fifth time the OAS has observed elections in Guyana, following Missions in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011.
“The delegation, headed by the former Foreign Minister of Belize Lisa Shoman, who was designated by Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, is comprised of 23 observers from 13 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States). The first members of the Mission arrived in Guyana on May 2, following a preliminary visit in mid-April to learn about the preparations for the elections,” the statement noted.
It was also stated that the Mission will focus its observation on electoral organization, electoral-political financing and the equal participation of men and women in the electoral process.
“It will also gather information about the status of the recommendations made in the last OAS/EOM in 2011.The OAS/EOM will be meeting with electoral authorities, representatives of political parties, government officials, and members of the media and civil society organizations, amongst other stakeholders, to discuss perspectives on the electoral process,” the release reported.
Meanwhile, a statement posted on the Commonwealth Secretariat website detailed that the Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-electoral environment and preparations. On election-day and thereafter, members will observe the voting process, counting and tabulation procedures and the announcement of results.
The Group will assess all factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole. It will determine whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Guyana has committed itself, with reference to its own election-related legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments.
The Commonwealth Observer Group will act impartially and make an independent assessment of the electoral process. It will conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.
The Observer Group will be led by Hon Kate Wilkinson, former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister in New Zealand and is scheduled to be in Guyana until May 19.