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Arrival Statement – CARICOM Election Observation Mission to The Bahamas

The CARICOM Election Observation Mission to The Bahamas has been meeting with key stakeholders ahead of the country’s General Elections on Thursday 16 September 2021.

The Mission, headed by Mr. Ian S. Hughes of Antigua and Barbuda has been engaging the political parties, security officials and civil society organisations, and will now turn its attention to monitoring Thursday’s Election Day activities.

The Mission on Wednesday issued its Arrival Statement:

ARRIVAL STATEMENT

CARICOM ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO THE GENERAL ELECTIONS

OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS

By way of letter dated 2 September 2021, the Most Honourable Sir Cornelius A. Smith, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, wrote to H.E. Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), inviting CARICOM to field a CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM) to observe the conduct of the General Elections to be held in The Bahamas on 16 September 2021.

The CEOM is headed by the Chief of Mission, Mr. Ian S. Hughes, of Antigua and Barbuda.

Other members of the Observation Mission are as follows:

Ambassador Felix Gregoire – Dominica

Mr. Rohan Hartman Porter – Jamaica

Ms. Daynia L.T. Harper – Jamaica

Mr. Samseerali Sheikh-Alibaks – Suriname

The CEOM is supported by Mr. Jhonson Alexandre and Ms. Serojnie Seetaram of the Foreign and Community Relations Directorate of the CARICOM Secretariat.

The role of the CEOM is to observe the electoral process, collect qualitative and quantitative data regarding the voting process and results to assist in preparing an Independent Final Report on the General Elections of The Bahamas.

The Team arrived in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on Monday, 13 September 2021. Since arrival, meetings were held with Dr. the Honourable Hubert A. Minnis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Mr. Frederick Mitchell, Representative of the Leader of the Opposition, representatives of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), the Coalition of Independents Party, Mr. Paul Rolle, Commissioner of Police, and Mr. Lavado Duncanson, Parliamentary Commissioner.  The CEOM also met with other stakeholders from Civil Society Organisations including The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, The Bahamas Christian Council and the Organisation for Responsible Governance.

These meetings are being held in an effort to provide the CEOM with an idea of the atmosphere and level of preparedness for the election. The CEOM will continue to observe the pre-election period and then the Election Day activities including the opening of the polls, the voting process, closing, counting and the management of the transmission of results.

Following the conclusion of the Election Day activities on 16 September 2021, a Preliminary Statement will be issued outlining the Mission’s observations followed by a detailed Report on the election to Her Excellency Dr. Carla N. Barnett, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community.

The CEOM is grateful for the warm welcome extended to the team by the people of The Bahamas and look forward to supporting and strengthening the democratic process in The Bahamas.

On behalf of the CEOM, I wish the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas well, especially during this Covid 19 pandemic, as they go out on Thursday, 16 September to exercise their franchise. 

Ian S. Hughes

Chief of Mission

14 September 2021

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