Arrival Statement – CARICOM Election Observation Mission to Antigua and Barbuda

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News

In a letter dated 23 December 2022, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda invited the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to field a CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM) to observe the conduct of the General Elections which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda on 18 January 2023.

In response to the invitation, the Caribbean Community mounted a seven-member Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the General Elections. The CEOM will observe the electoral processes for the General Elections from 11 to 20 January 2023.

The Mission comprises Electoral Officials from seven Member States. The Secretary-General of CARICOM, Dr. Carla Barnett has appointed Ms. Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer of the Elections and Boundaries Department of Belize as Chief of Mission of the CEOM.

The other Members of the Observation Mission are as follows:

(1)               Barbados – Ms. Angela Taylor, Chief Electoral Officer, Electoral and Boundaries    

       Commission of Barbados;

(2)               Guyana – Mr. Clement Rohee, Commissioner, Guyana Elections Commission;

(3)               Jamaica – Ms. Llofram Thompson, Registrar of Political Parties of Jamaica;

(4)         St. Kitts and Nevis – Mr. Joseph Edmead, Former Cabinet Secretary of  St. Kitts  

                          and Nevis;

(5)         Suriname – Ms. Anne-Marel Martha Linger, Former member of the Independent 

                           Electoral Council of Suriname; and

(6)         Trinidad and Tobago – Mr. Adam Dinesh Jehu, Geographic Information Systems Manager.

The CEOM is supported by Mr. Jhonson Alexandre and Ms. Denise Morgan of the CARICOM Secretariat.

The Core Group which includes the Chief of Mission and the Secretariat support staff arrived in Antigua and Barbuda on 11 January 2023 while the remaining observers will arrive on 14 and 15January 2023.  Since arrival, face to face and virtual meetings have been held with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Women Against Rape, Gilbert Agricultural and Research Development (GARD) Center, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition and Antigua and Barbuda Christian Council.  Meetings are currently ongoing and over the next few days the Mission will pay courtesy calls on His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams, Governor General, the Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Supervisor of Elections, Commissioner of Police and representatives of other political parties and civil society groups.

These meetings are being held to provide the CEOM with a general idea of the atmosphere and level of preparedness for the election.

The role of the CEOM on Election Day is to observe the electoral process including the preparations for the start of the poll, casting of votes, closure of the polling stations, counting of the ballots and the preparation of the Statement of Poll. Qualitative and quantitative information regarding the voting process and the results will be collected to facilitate the preparation of an Independent Final Report on the General Elections of Antigua and Barbuda.

Following the conclusion of the Election Day activities on 18 January 2023, and prior to the Mission’s departure on 20January 2023, the Mission will issue a Preliminary Statement outlining its initial assessment of the electoral process. The Mission will thereafter prepare a detailed Independent Final Report on the election for submission to Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community.  

The CEOM is most grateful for the invitation and appreciates the warm welcome extended to the team by the people of Antigua and Barbuda. The CEOM looks forward to supporting the democratic process of Antigua and Barbuda and the CARICOM Region. 

Best wishes to the People of Antigua and Barbuda as they prepare to go to the polls on Wednesday, 18 January 2023.

JOSEPHINE TAMAI

CHIEF OF MISSION

13 JANUARY 2023