ARRIVAL STATEMENT BY CHIEF OF MISSION CARICOM ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO THE GENERAL AND REGIONAL ELECTIONS OF THE COOPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA March 2, 2020
By a letter dated November 20, 2019, Dr. the Honourable Karen Cummings, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, wrote to the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), His Excellency Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, inviting CARICOM to mount an Election Observation Mission to observe the General and Regional Elections of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, to be held on March 2, 2020.
In response to that invitation, CARICOM mounted a seventeen (17) member Observation Mission comprising:
- Cynthia Combie Martyr -Saint Lucia- Chief of Mission
- John M. Jarvis – Antigua and Barbuda
- Carolyn Thomas-Parker – Antigua and Barbuda
- Phillip Anthony Turner – The Bahamas
- Lesa Collins – Barbados
- Leonard Walters – Barbados
- Eileen Alix Boyd-Knight – Dominica
- Jennifer Astaphan – Dominica
- Ms Yves Marie Edouard – Haiti
- Glendon Ricardo Bennett – Jamaica
- Lenworth Sterling – Jamaica
- Gasper Jn. Baptiste – Saint Lucia
- His Excellency Lionel Sydney Osborne – St. Kitts and Nevis
- Sylvester Anthony King – St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Renuka Raghoe – Suriname
- Fern Narcis-Scope – Trinidad & Tobago
- Noel Kalicharan – Trinidad & Tobago.
The Chief of Mission arrived in Guyana on February 24, 2020 and the remaining members on Thursday/Friday 27-28, 2020.
The CARICOM Election Observation Mission is supported by the Directorate of Foreign and Community Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat.
It is indeed an honour and privilege for me to be here in Guyana as Chief of the CARICOM Election Observation Mission and I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity given to the members of this observer team.
The role of the CARICOM Election Observation Mission, is to observe the electoral process, collect quantitative and qualitative information and observations of the voting process and the results, observe and assess the outcome of the elections and its initial impact on the social and political environment and the preparation of a Final Report on the Elections which would include recommendations as the Mission deems fit.
Since my arrival, I had meetings with key stakeholders:
- Chairperson and members of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM);
- Keith Lowenfield – Chief Elections Officer;
- Joseph Harmon- Director General, Office of the President and other representatives of the Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC);
- Moses Nagamootoo – the Honourable Prime Minister;
- Bharrat Jagdeo – Leader of the Opposition along with other members representing the Peoples Progressive Party/Civic;
- Political Party Leaders and representatives of:
- The Citizenship Initiative Party
- The Liberty and Justice Party
- The New Movement
- A United Republican Party
- Change Guyana
- A New United Guyana
- Organization for Victory of the People
- Leslie James – Commissioner of Police – Guyana Police Force;
- President and members of:
- Guyana Trade Union Congress
- Guyana Public Service Union
- Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union
- Private Sector Commission;
- Quacy Grant -President of the National Youth Council;
- Sarah Bovell, Human Rights Coordinator, Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD);
- Members of other Election Observation Missions.
It is also the intention of the Mission to meet with members of the Ethnic Relations Commission and Religious bodies if time permits, other stakeholders.
In an effort to obtain an overview of the general political atmosphere and level of preparedness for the electoral process and to the extent possible, the Mission intends to attend final political rallies, continue to observe the pre-election period and finally to monitor and observe activities on Election Day, voting procedure and the count.
Following the end of the Election day activities, the reports of the Observers will be shared during a de-briefing session and I will present my Preliminary Statement which will be issued to the Media outlining the Mission’s initial assessment of the electoral process.
Thereafter, I will prepare my Final Report for submission to His Excellency Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of CARICOM.
On behalf of the members of the Mission I wish to express our gratitude for the warm welcome extended to the Mission by the people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Mission looks forward to the successful conclusion of the electoral process.
CYNTHIA COMBIE MARTYR
CHIEF OF MISSION