St. Kitts elections: Gunraj to submit report to CARICOM SG
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(Third from left) Chief of Mission of CEOM to St Kitts and Nevis, Sase Gunraj, flanked by other observers from Barbados, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago
(Third from left) Chief of Mission of CEOM to St Kitts and Nevis, Sase Gunraj, flanked by other observers from Barbados, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago

CHIEF of Mission of the CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM) to the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, Sase Gunraj, reported that the 5 August 2022 elections characterised by tension and uncertainty reflected the will of the people, since their ballots were cast without intimidation or fear.

Gunraj, a commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), will prepare a full Independent Report for submission to the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett.
At the invitation of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) mounted a CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM) to observe the conduct of the General Elections, which were held in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis on August 5, 2022.

The CEOM arrived in St. Kitts and Nevis on the evening of August 3, 2022.
According to a statement from CARICOM on Saturday, meetings, both virtual and in-person, were held with His Excellency, Sir Tapley Seaton, GCMG, CVO, QC, JP, Governor-General; a team from St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (SKLP) led by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Denzil Douglas; Ambassador Sydney Osborne, Campaign Manager of the People’s Labour Party, representing Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister; Mr. Hilroy Brandy, the Commissioner of Police; Mr. Ogrenville Browne, Member of the Electoral Commission, representing the Supervisor of Elections, and St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

CARICOM noted that the CEOM’s interactions with the aforesaid stakeholders revealed the political environment in St. Kitts and Nevis was characterised by tension and uncertainty.
On polling day, members of the CEOM visited a total of 100 polling stations out of 122 across all 11 constituencies on both islands.

The CEOM’s observation included the opening of the poll, the voting process, the closing of the poll and the centralised counting of ballots.
“It was observed that a number of polling stations were not opened in a timely manner. However, all the stations were fully staffed, and most had agents present, representing all political parties that contested the elections.

Most polling stations were conveniently located and easily accessible to the voters, including differently-abled persons. The CEOM observed that there was an adequate supply of requisite voting and related electoral material,” CARICOM noted in their statement.

Further, CARICOM stated that adequate security was in place at all locations and officials conducted their duties in a professional and fairly efficient manner.
However, it is evident there is a need for more training of all persons involved in the electoral process and greater planning and execution of elections-related activities. This would have reduced and/or eliminated the delays experienced in some aspects of the process.

The initial assessment of Election Day activities by the CEOM is that the voters were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or fear.
“The centralised counting was conducted in a similar manner. Generally, there was a level of calm except for the usual exuberance of party supporters which accompany elections day activities. As a consequence, it appears that the results of the August 5, 2022 General Elections reflect the will of the people of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” CARICOM added.

The CEOM congratulates the Electoral Commission, poll workers, the political parties and their candidates, the security forces and the people of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis on the level of maturity displayed in the peaceful execution of the Election Day activities.

The CEOM expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, and all stakeholders including political parties, civil society, the security services for their sterling support throughout the mission, and in general, the People of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis for their warm welcome and cooperation which contributed to the success of the Mission.

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