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CARICOM observer mission expresses confidence in Guyana 2001 elections

Foundations of co-operation have been laid with other missions who are in Guyana to observe the 2001 General elections. This was stated by Chief of the CARICOM Observer Mission to Guyana, Justice R. Carl Rattray at a Press Conference today Thursday March 15 hosted by Secretary General of CARICOM, Mr Edwin Carrington at the CARICOM Secratriat in Georgetown.

In making his comments, the Secretary General reiterated that the efforts of CARICOM was just one of the observer components, and that it was his hope that at the end of the day, they will all contribute to making the elections as free from any difficulties as possible, and the results acceptable to the Society. The ten-member team from CARICOM will join the many other Observer Missions expected here as the country prepares to go to the polls on Monday January 19.

Justice Rattray expressed his wish for free and fair elections for the country. He said given that Guyana is a member of the CARICOM family, the CARICOM Observer Team felt a sense of responsibility for the democratic process in Guyana and although their team may be relatively small, they expected to have the greatest influence.

The team, also comprises Deputy Chief of Mission, J. Mc Clair Daniel, St Lucia; Myrtle Pallacio, Belize; Simon Jones-Hendrickson, St Kitts/Nevis; Michael Blackman, St Lucia; Owen Estwick, Barbados; John Jarvis, Antigua and Barbuda; Lewis Charles, Trinidad and Tobago; Earl Simpson, Jamaica and Errol Bethel, Bahamas.

While here, the Observers will seek to protect the democratic process, and will, following elections, submit a “frank, fair a free report”. Justice Rattray noted that they “have so far found nothing so flawed that would require intervention in the electoral process before the appointed time.” He explained that they will only intervene if the flaws are so fundamental that they threaten the will and expression of the people.

On the matter of systematic deletions and omissions of names on the Electoral List, Justice Rattray empasised that the CARICOM Observer Team could only deal with that matter on an individual basis, rather than a general issue. Moreover, they are restricted by the fact that they were “not the only ones monitoring the elections, and for the purposes of co-operation, and a broad perspective, co-ordination of experiences is far better than the findings of one or two individuals or one mission.”

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