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Arrival Statement: CARICOM Elections Observation Mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands

Pursuant to the request made on the 31 January 2021 by the Office of the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands for a CARICOM Elections Observation Mission (CEOM) to be deployed to observe and monitor the conduct of the General Elections scheduled to take place in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 19 February 2021, a three-member CEOM was deployed to observe the pre-, peri-, and immediately post-elections occurrences associated with its electoral processes.

The Members of the CEOM are officials with extensive experience from various CARICOM Member States, and who have participated in international election observation missions. The Observers are:

  • Dr. Robert Stephen Mahadeo Surujbally, Guyana – Chief of Mission;
  • Mr. Ian Hughes, Antigua and Barbuda;
  • H.E. Felix Gregoire, Dominica.

The Mission is supported by Ms. Valique Gomes of the Directorate for Foreign and Community Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat.

The CEOM arrived in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 16 February 2021 and will seek to arrange to meet with various stakeholders. As a precautionary measure with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the appointments will be conducted virtually. It is the intention of the CEOM to interact with the following stakeholders:

  • Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands;
  • Honourable Charles W. Misick, the Leader of the Opposition;
  • Honourable Rhondalee Knowles, Attorney General;
  • Mr. Trevor Botting, Commissioner of Police;
  • Mr. Dudley Lewis, Supervisor of Elections, Elections Department;
  • Mr. Richard Bean, Integrity Commission; and
  • Various representatives of civil society.

Within the context of the pre-election activities, the team is also attempting to obtain the respective manifestos put forward by the various political parties during the election campaign. Additionally, the team will attempt to ascertain all the salient information that has been outlined in the briefing document prepared by the Secretariat of the Caribbean Community relative to important prerequisite and imperative undertakings and necessary materials associated therewith.

The team has already conducted a preliminary reconnaissance of the polling stations in Providenciales.

On 18 February 2021, the Observers will visit a number of polling stations to observe the preparations in regard to the COVID-19 regulations and general preparation for the day of elections.

On 19 February 2021 (the day of elections), the Observers will observe the electoral process, including the preparations for the start of the poll, the opening of the polling stations, the casting of votes, the closure of the polling stations, the counting of the ballots and the preparation of the Statement of Poll; collect information on the results at the voting tables to assist in the quantitative verification of the results; collect qualitative observations regarding the voting process, comportment of the electoral officials and political actors, and on the overall electoral environment; and observe and assess the outcome of the elections and the initial immediate impact on the social and political environment.

The CEOM will collaborate in the preparation of the Report of this mission to be submitted to H.E. Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community. This report will be shared with the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Leader of the Opposition and the Elections Department.

On 20 February 2021, the Chief of Mission will issue a Preliminary Statement based on the Observers’ reports on the activities of election day.

The CEOM will depart the Turks and Caicos Islands on 20 February 2021.

The CARICOM Elections Observation Mission values the opportunity to contribute to the democratic process in the Turks and Caicos Islands and appreciates the support and cooperation received on its arrival in the country.

Dr. Robert Stephen Mahadeo Surujbally

Chief of Mission

16 February 2021

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