The Chief and Deputy Chief of the CARICOM Elections Observer Mission are in Guyana and have already acknowledged the competitiveness of campaigns, although the CARICOM team is yet to officially begin its monitoring activities.
The rest of the team is expected to arrive in Guyana by Friday evening ahead of Monday’s polls, but at a press conference on Friday morning, Head of Mission Earl Simpson committed to being “neutral, impartial objective and independent,” in his team’s assessment.
“We sense that it is going to be pretty competitive elections and we will closely monitor what is happening and being said but whatever it is that is our conclusion will be in the report,” the CARICOM Electoral Mission Head said.
Simpson who hails from Jamaica was accompanied by his Deputy Josephine Amelita Tamai from Belize and he said his team will abide by laws of Guyana as it seeks to visit as many polling location as possible come Monday.
He noted that the team hopes over the next few days to meet as many Guyanese as possible and other stakeholders including Party Leaders and Officials of the Guyana Elections Commission.
So far Simspon and his Deputy have paid a courtesy call on President Donald Ramotar.
“We have not observed any political meeting but will hit the road to observe campaigning or whatever is left of it,” Simpson said but assured that he has been “catching up on news and reading as many clippings as possible to arrive at a better perspective”.
Mr. Simpson said the CARICOM team is aware of the presence of other observer teams.
He hinted that all missions will work in an integrated approach to ensure that a broad based of the electoral process on Monday is monitored.
The CARICOM team is in Guyana in response to an invitation from President Doanld Ramotar to CARICOM Secretary General Erwin Laroque.
The mandate given by the Secretary General is for the team to observe the electoral process including campaign, opening of poll, the voting process, the close of polls and counting of ballots along with the preparation of statement of polls.
The CARICOM mission will also observe and assess the outcome and its immediate impact on social and political environment.
Other international teams are already here including the OAS and the Carter Center. (Kurt Campbell)