ST GEORGE’S, Grenada – Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has led the ruling New National Party (NNP) to another overwhelming election win in a race that had nine parties and two independent candidates competing. But, it was also a poll held under the watchful eye of the CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM).
THE mission was invited by Dr. Mitchell to observe and comment on the island’s electoral process. And while praising the March 13 vote, in which the NNP won all 15 constituencies for the third time, it had some critical observations to make.
Mission Chief Pauline Welsh said in a statement, “The CARICOM Election Observation Mission wishes to congratulate the people of Grenada on their commitment to the democratic process evidenced by the voter turnout and the peaceful manner in which the people exercised their franchise.
“The CEOM would also like to commend the Electoral Authority for organising the process and the performance of the polling officials who displayed professionalism in carrying out their duties. To the security forces commendations are also in order for the maintenance of an orderly polling environment to facilitate the free expression of the will of the people.”
As for criticism, the statement read,”Based on its preliminary assessment the CEOM finds that greater efforts or more effort need to be put in place to achieve meaningful reform and greater efficiencies in the registration of voters to ensure that the Voters List is accurate, reliable and up-to-date.
The voter registration process is a critical element to the successful outcome of the electoral process and therefore any perception real or imagined that this process is flawed affects public confidence and trust in the overall integrity of the electoral process.
Observation of the taking of the polls was carried out in one hundred and thirty (130) polling stations across thirteen (13) constituencies including Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Each team observed the vote tabulation process in one polling station and followed the results being inputted at the Parliamentary Office in the constituency to test the integrity of the Elections Results Management System.
The Mission was led by Pauline Welsh, Director of Legal Affairs, Research and Development at the Electoral Commission of Jamaica and comprised observers from The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.