An initial assessment by a CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM) of election day activities in Saint Lucia on Monday, has determined that voters were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or fear, and that the results of the vote reflect the will of the people of this country.
The ten member Observation Mission, comprising nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago arrived here at the invitation of outgoing Saint Lucia Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet.
In a written statement Tuesday, mission leader – Ms. Fern Narcis-Scope, Chief Election Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Elections and Boundaries Commission, said the team witnessed the advanced polls which was held on Friday.
And on polling day, CEOM members visited a majority of the polling stations across the 17 constituencies, Narcis-Scope disclosed.
She said the team monitored the polling activities, which included the opening of the poll, the voting process, the closing of the poll and the preliminary count of ballots.
Additionally, the Chief of Mission visited Saint Lucia’s Parliament, where Election Commission officials were receiving the election results electronically.
“From observations, the polls were opened in a timely manner in the majority of the polling districts. All the stations observed were fully staffed and most had at least four Polling Agents present, representing the two major political parties that contested the general election. Most polling stations were conveniently located and easily accessible to the voters, though some instances of accessibility challenges for the disabled, elderly and infirmed were noted. The Mission observed that there was an adequate supply of the required voting material which arrived promptly to facilitate the opening of the polls,” Narcis-Scope noted.
In her statement, she also observed that adequate police security was in place at all locations visited, with officials conducting their duties in a professional and efficient manner, contributing to the level of calm which accompanied the day’s activities.
However, the mission leader wrote that a higher level of police participation could have been engaged in maintaining social distancing amongst electors in the queues.
Nevertheless, she said that the poll workers were focused as they steadily carried out the required procedures, thereby ensuring that all eligible electors who turned out to vote were able to do so.
“Their efforts to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols and sanitise the polling stations after each elector voted is also commendable,” Narcis-Scope stated.
A full Independent Report will be prepared by the Chief of the CEOM for submission to the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), His Excellency Irwin LaRocque.