[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former Guyanese Head of State Dr. BharratJagdeo is currently in Sri Lanka along with nine others as part of a Commonwealth Observer Group to observe and report on the Country’s upcoming Presidential Elections slated for January 8.
In a statement, Jagdeo reminded that Sri Lanka has among the oldest democratic traditions in the Commonwealth.
He explained “Our task is to consider all the factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole, and to assess whether the election is conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Sri Lanka has committed itself, with reference to national election-related legislation as well as Commonwealth and other international commitments.”
Jagdeo, who is leading the group, said too that “we will consider, among other things, whether conditions exist for credible elections, including a fair election environment; whether public media has been impartial; the transparency of the entire process; whether voters are free to express their will; and whether the counting and results process is transparent.
In conducting our duties and undertaking our assessment, we will be neutral, impartial, objective and independent. The Group has no executive role; its function is not to supervise but to observe the process as a whole and to form a judgement accordingly.”
The group is there in their individual capacities as eminent and experienced Commonwealth citizens. The assessment by the Group will be its own and not that of any member government.
“Our intent is to offer constructive support to help strengthen the democratic process in the country. In so doing, the Group will make recommendations to the authorities concerned on institutional, procedural and other matters as would assist the holding of such elections in the future,” the Former Guyanese Head of State added.
The group has already met with the Commissioner of Elections, national observer groups, and representatives of the two main candidates and over the coming days they will be meeting Commonwealth High Commissioners, representatives of the police as well as civil society groups.
They will then deploy across the country to observe the conclusion of the campaign and thereafter the voting, counting and results process.
“We will issue an Interim Statement after the election and the Group will submit a final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to the Government of Sri Lanka, the Commissioner of Elections, and leaders of political parties, and thereafter to all Commonwealth Governments.”
On behalf of the Commonwealth Observer Group Jagdeo wish the people of Sri Lanka well as they embark upon this election.