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CARICOM observer missions to Haiti and suriname

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was among international organisations that Observed the 21 May 2000 elections in Haiti, and the Community will have a similar presence at the elections due in Suriname on 25 May 2000.

CARICOM Secretariat’s Assistant Secretary-General for Foreign Policy and Community Relations, Ambassador Albert Ramdin pointed out that in the process of the deepening and widening of the integration movement, the Community, as a matter of course will face new challenges, some of which may be political in nature. One such challenge he pointed out is the Community’s presence at elections in CARICOM Member States.

The Assistant Secretary-General stressed too that in playing such a critical role in the electoral process in Haiti and Suriname, the CARICOM Secretariat is also building capabilities and expertise as members of the Secretariat’s professional staff are in charge of organisational, logistical and technical preparations for these electoral observer missions. He added that this provided a new dimension to the already varied range of activities of the Secretariat.

Ambassador Ramdin added that the CARICOM Observer Missions for the elections in Haiti and Suriname signaled the Region’s contribution towards the practice of good governance and the securing of democracy in the Community. He added that this exercise of political leadership augurs well for the Community.

The national elections in Haiti took place at three levels. Haitians voted for officials for the National Assembly, Municipal and Local authorities. When they go to the polls, Surinamese will elect officials for the National Assembly, Municipal and District authorities.

Ambassador Ramdin informed that in the case of Haiti, the election of a National Assembly is important in terms of Haiti becoming a full member of the Caribbean Community as it is the National Assembly that is responsible for the ratification of the necessary instruments for Haiti’s full membership of the Community. Haiti has had provisional membership of the Community since July 1997 while Suriname became a CARICOM Member State in July 1995.

The CARICOM team to Haiti will be headed by former Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Sir John Compton and the second in command is former Government Minister from Dominica Charles Maynard. In the case of Suriname, the team is headed by Mr Denville Walker, Chief Elections Officer with the Electoral Commission in Jamaica.

The CARICOM Observer Missions are among those from international organisations such as the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU) which observed the elections in Haiti and Suriname. In the case of Haiti, France and the United States also sent Observer Missions.

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