“We are only here to observe” – Commonwealth Elections team

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By Jomo Paul

The Members of the Commonwealth Observer Team at Cara Lodge. [iNews' Photo]
The Members of the Commonwealth Observer Team at Cara Lodge. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Commonwealth team currently in Guyana to observe the May 11 General and Regional Elections affirmed that the team can only “observe” and not supervise the elections process.

According to the Head of the team, Kate Wilkinson who is former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister in New Zealand, while the group may observe infractions, no mechanisms are in place to sanction persons.

“We have specific terms of reference which require us to act independently, to act impartially, we have specific roles entrusted to observe the process as a whole, we are not here in an executive role, we are not here to supervise, said Wilkinson at news conference on Thursday, May 07.

Concerns have been raised that the recommendations made by the last Commonwealth Observer team have not been implemented by the Guyana Elections Commission and several other entities, but Wilkinson was pellucid that the Body cannot instruct the government to implement recommendations.

“We do not have a supervisory role” she stated adding “we are here to observe.”

The team is urging that politicians and political Parties take a “constructive approach” towards electioneering in the four days remaining before General and Regional Elections are held in Guyana.

The seven-member team will assess all factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process. 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.

1 COMMENT

  1. So why even bother having these people be there at all? It’s one thing to “observe” a potential crime, infraction, etc. and simply make note of it, it’s quite another to enforce predetermined rules (if there are any). We all sure as hell know Guyana has no ability to police itself even after ~50 years of independence.

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