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CARICOM Elections Observation Mission to Haiti issues Preliminary Statement

Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 23 October 2015 | 4038

     Dr. Steve Surujbally
    Dr. Steve Surujbally

    Sunday’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Haiti has been engaged in various activities since its arrival, including  meetings with the Haitian Prime Minister and other State officials.

    The Mission  issued a Preliminary Statement (see below) on Friday, as the 5.8  million registered voters prepare to choose from among fifty-three Presidential candidates and also vote in the second round of the Legislative elections for seats in the Lower House and Senate in Haiti’s 119 constituencies.



    Pursuant to the request/invitation of the Government of Haiti for CARICOM to deploy an Observer Mission to monitor the 2015 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, a team of ten persons from the CARICOM Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago assembled in Port au Prince, five days prior to the 25th October Election Day.

    The Team, headed by Dr. Steve Surujbally, Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission, comprises experienced practitioners of elections management in their respective countries, with tested and proven expertise in Elections Observation Missions. The Team includes two members of staff of the CARICOM Secretariat.

    From the onset, the Team discussed the role and functions of the group, as well as the important foci relative to the performances and behavior at and around the Polling Stations to be visited, and other critical elements pertaining to the electoral process.

    Meetings are being held with the Haitian Prime Minister, the Head of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of Haiti, the Minister responsible for Electoral Affairs, the National Council for Election Observation (CNO), the Haitian Council of Non-State Organisations and other Observer Groups (the latter under the auspices of the European Union).

    It may be worth noting that, in spite of requests to meet with leaders of the major political parties, it was claimed that current campaigning efforts precluded their meetings with observer groups – including the CARICOM team. This stance is neither surprising nor unique, since it is the experience of many Observer Missions monitoring elections intra- and extra-regional.

    The CARICOM Election Observation Mission has every intention of visiting political rallies, while fine-tuning its methodologies for deploying team members to cover the maximum number of Polling Stations on Election Day. This latter activity includes precursor visits to the Polling Stations which the teams intend to monitor.

    On Election Day, the Team intends to focus on those Polling Station procedures which represent meaningful tiles in the total mosaic of efficient electoral systems and practices. These include, inter alia, the punctual opening of the Polling Stations; the availability of the requisite election officials and party agents; the adherence to norms pertaining to poll procedures during pre-, peri-, and post–electoral periods; the accommodation of the differently-abled; the behavior of crowds in the immediate vicinity of Polling Stations and security features.

    The CARICOM Election Observation Mission to the Haitian 2015 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections is honoured and privileged to be associated with the opportunity to contribute to the nurturing of the integrity, transparency and credibility in the electoral processes in the Republic  of Haiti, thus enhancing democracy, at the electoral level, in a CARICOM Member State.

    The Mission lastly feels compelled to document its appreciation for the high level of support and cooperation received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Haiti since the Team’s arrival in the country.