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Commonwealth to observe Trinidad and Tobago elections

27 August 2015

Sir Paul Tovua, chair of the Solomon Islands Political Parties Commission, will lead a Commonwealth Observer Group to Trinidad and Tobago’s Parliamentary Elections scheduled for 7 September 2015.

The six-member team of observers was constituted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at the invitation of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Trinidad and Tobago is a committed and valued member of the Commonwealth, and we are pleased to deploy observers for these important elections,” Mr Sharma said.

The Secretary-General added: “Free and fair elections lie at the very heart of inclusive and responsive democratic governance, and the presence of our observers is an expression of the enduring Commonwealth partnership with the people of Trinidad and Tobago as they exercise their right to choose their leaders and shape the future of their country”.

Commonwealth observers will assess the various factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole. They will consider the pre-electoral environment, the voting process, counting and tabulation procedures and the announcement of results.

The group is independent and will determine in its own judgement whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards to which Trinidad and Tobago has committed itself, with reference to its own election-related legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments.

Observers will act impartially and will adhere to the standards of the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Group will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will send it to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the Election and Boundaries Commission, political parties and all Commonwealth governments. It will then be made public.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will arrive in Trinidad and Tobago on 31 August 2015, and will be supported by a four-member staff team from the Commonwealth Secretariat, led by Ms Yvonne Apea Mensah, Head of Africa Section in the Political Division.

The Commonwealth Observer Group members are:

Chair: Sir Paul Tovua
Former Speaker of Parliament
Chairman, Political Parties Commission
Solomon Islands

Mr Alfred Sears QC
Barrister & Former Attorney General of The Bahamas
The Bahamas

Ms Taleya Rehman
Executive Director, Democracy Watch
Bangladesh

Mr Aaron Hape
Executive Director, Commonwealth Youth New Zealand
New Zealand

Ms Clare Keizer
Editor-in-Chief, Searchlight
St Vincent and the Grenadines

Mr Mawethu Mosery
Electoral Officer
South Africa