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Caribbean Community (CARICOM) electoral observer mission to the general elections of Jamaica – preliminary statement

The CARICOM Electoral Observer Mission, at the invitation of the Government of Jamaica, monitored the conduct of the General and Regional Elections on 29 December 2011.

The Group of seven persons was deployed in two teams of two each and one of three to cover Election Day activities, in the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Thomas and Kingston.

As mandated by the CARICOM Secretariat, the teams’ mission was to observe:

(i) the opening of the poll;

(ii) the voting process;

(iii) the environment at polling stations; and

 (iv) the closing of the poll and the count.

The team members visited a number of polling stations during the day. This enabled them to get a sense of what was happening in those areas.

In the early hours of the day, there were long lines at the polling stations, but behavior was generally good. The election officials were efficient even though there were some teething problems with the use of the new technology at some polling stations, but as the day wore on, voting was smoother. The general observation was that the process was transparent and electors were able to cast their ballots freely. The long lines of the early morning were reduced significantly by midday.

There was no one waiting in line to vote at 5:00 pm at the polling stations where the observers were, hence only the officials, police and observers witnessed the closing of poll.

There were no issues with the counting of the ballots witnessed by the CARICOM Observer Team. All the observers took part in that process and were satisfied with the proceedings.

The Mission’s assessment is that on Election Day, the people of Jamaica were given the opportunity to elect a government of their choice.

The Mission’s full report will be submitted to the Secretary-General of CARICOM.

Electoral Observer Mission 30 December 2011

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