Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Administrator Raye Sandy said he is pleased that the Commonwealth Secretariat team has chosen to visit this country.
The three-member observer team met with THA officials on Friday (July 24, 2015), as part of its pre-electoral assessment of Trinidad and Tobago. The members visited various other institutions that will be affected by the elections process as well.
After their visits, the team will report to the Commonwealth’s Secretary General, who will then decide if an observer team should come to the country for the September 7, 2015 General Election.
After the meeting, the Chief Administrator said because of the importance of the elections, having an observer is beneficial to Trinidad and Tobago.
“It’s always good to have an observer to come in and certify that your elections are free and fair and I think it augurs well for the country in general,” Sandy stated.
Martin Kasirye, Advisor and Head of Electoral Support Political Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, explained the process and their role in Tobago during the meeting.
“The Secretary General sends a team to determine whether the ground is favourable for the deployment of a commonwealth observer group, whether commonwealth observers would be welcome,” Kasirye-Advisor said.
“(We’re also here to) get a sense that the commonwealth observers would have necessary access to polling stations, counting stations and to also explain how the commonwealth observers would operate,” he said.
The team, which visited Trinidad and Tobago on the request of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, was able to get a better understanding of the country’s electoral process and to assess the need to send a technical team here from the Commonwealth Observer Group for the General Election.