Electoral officials from across the Caribbean are attending a Commonwealth-sponsored masterclass on holding efficient, credible and inclusive elections.
Twenty-one representatives from nine election management bodies in the Caribbean and the Americas are taking part in the five-day workshop in Barbados, entitled ‘Principles for Increasing the Efficiency, Credibility and Inclusiveness of Electoral Administration’.
The Commonwealth Election Professionals (CEP) Initiative is co-hosted by the Barbados Electoral Boundaries(EBC), a follow-up to the regional training event held in Antigua and Barbuda in 2018.
Senator Lucille Moe Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs opened the workshop on behalf of the prime minister of Barbados stressing the importance and role of election officials in upholding democracy
John Haynes, Chairman of EBC Barbados, thanked the Commonwealth for running the training which he said was timely in the run-up to their national elections in 2023.
He said: “The theme of efficiency, credibility, effectiveness and inclusiveness is currently the focus of the EBC as they seek to reform aspects of election management for the next general election.
“I hope that at the conclusion of the training event, participants would be fit and equipped to contribute in those areas in their respective countries.”
Topics to be discussed at the workshop include: The electoral and legal framework, electoral reform – principles for enhancing the credibility, transparency and inclusiveness of electoral processes and principles for fair, transparent and effective boundary delimitation.
Martin Kasirye the Commonwealth’s head of electoral support section said: “The Commonwealth Election Professionals Initiative is an important part of the Secretariat’s strategic objective of promoting credible, transparent and inclusive elections.
“It is a tangible illustration of the importance we attach to this strategic objective, and to democracy as one of our core values.
“The quest for electoral democracy, and indeed that of promoting the theme of this workshop, is a work in progress, a journey, and never a completed task.
“My hope, therefore, is that this workshop will assist your respective Electoral Management Bodies to build capacity to deliver elections across the Caribbean and Americas region that meet the expectations of the community.”
The CEP Initiative brings together professionals from Commonwealth election management bodies in regional workshops to discuss key electoral issues, share best practice, knowledge and to facilitate peer-to-peer networking.
Participating countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the host country Barbados.
The workshop is the latest in a series of regional training sessions held by the CEP Initiative, a project funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, since 2017.