Observer team for T&T elections

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Associated Press / Moises Castillo, File

A three-member observer team from the Commonwealth Secretariat has arrived in Trinidad ahead of the Sept. 7, 2015 General Election, the Office of the Prime Minister said last week.

In a media release, the Office of the Prime Minister said the Commonwealth has confirmed that a three-member team “will be dispatched for the period of July 22 to 26, 2015, in advance of the upcoming elections.”

The team comprises: Martin Kasirye, adviser and head, Electoral Support Section; Sarah Linton, political officer, Caribbean and Pacific Section; and Madonna Lynch, program assistant.”

“Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has reiterated her commitment to the preservation and development of Trinidad and Tobago’s democracy, and is determined to maintain the government’s history of integrity and transparency,” the release said.

It noted Persad-Bissessar had indicated her desire for the presence of a technical team from the Commonwealth Observer Group when she met with Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma during the recent Meeting of the heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Bridgetown, Barbados earlier this month.

The responsibility for requesting international observers is that of the Cabinet. In all elections since 2000 there have been observers. Observers from CARICOM were present for the elections in 2000, 2001, 2007 and 2010.

There have also been observers throughout the years from the Commonwealth Secretariat. In the past, these observer missions have repeatedly reported some problems in the system of voting. However, all elections have been deemed free and fair.

Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley had called for international and CARICOM observers for the election.

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