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The CARICOM team to undertake the independent audit of the December 1997 elections in Guyana will arrive in Guyana on Friday 13th March in order to commence their work. The team was appointed last month by the Chairman of the Caribbean Community, Dr. the Honourable Keith Mitchell, and will spend next Monday and Tuesday in discussions with representatives of the political parties in Guyana.

The seven-member team will be led by the Honourable Ulric Cross, former High Commissioner to London and former Judge of the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago. Other members are: Mr Justin Daniel (Saint Lucia); Ms. Carol Jerome-Horsford (Grenada); Dr Dinanath Gajadhar (Trinidad and Tobago); Mr. Noel Lee (Jamaica); Mr. Frank Phillips (Trinidad and Tobago); and Mr. Dennis Smith (Barbados). Two computer programmers, Ms. Yvette Walcott and Mr. Eustace Russell have been made available to the team by the Government of Barbados Data Processing Department.

The first stage of the audit will be a review of the due process of the count, on and after, 15 December 1997, including a review of the role of the Elections Commission. This stage will have as its primary purposes an examination of the processes of the count from the close of poll to the declaration of final results of the election by the Elections Commission; the validity and authenticity of all relevant documents and the ascertainment of the votes that were duly cast for the respective political parties. The team will have authority to enquire into all matters they consider pertinent to the conduct of their work. The audit will encompass all electoral Regions of Guyana but will give priority to Regions 4 and 6.

The CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are coordinating domestic and external financial and other donor support for the work of the Audit team.

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