The Commonwealth Secretariat has organised a workshop in Trinidad and Tobago this week for Caribbean and Americas election administrators to examine issues impacting electoral integrity, transparency and inclusiveness, with the aim of enhancing confidence in the democratic process.
Held in Port-of-Spain from 19 to 24 March 2023 in partnership with Trinidad and Tobago’s Elections and Boundaries Commission, the workshop brought together 21 election administrators from nine election management bodies to exchange experiences and lessons learned in enhancing electoral integrity and transparency in their jurisdictions.
Opening the workshop, Mark Ramkerrysingh, Chairman of Trinidad and Tobago’s Elections and Boundaries Commission, said the workshop is of critical importance for the efficient functioning of electoral bodies, especially at a time when misinformation erodes public trust in democracy. He continued:
“Greater efficiency and transparency can blunt the impact of such misinformation on the electorate … The issues of integrity, inclusion, transparency and leadership and efficiency and effectiveness which are the themes of this training will lead to more rounded election professionals and, therefore, a strengthening of the election management body itself.”
Echoing the chairman’s words, Linford Andrews, Head of the Commonwealth’s Electoral Support Section, said:
“This workshop serves as a valuable forum for the exchange of experience in delivering electoral processes in these exceptionally challenging times and the sharing of emerging good practice.”
He added the workshop was the latest in a series of efforts by the Commonwealth Secretariat to strengthen democracy and build trust in electoral processes in the Caribbean region.
Speaking at the workshop, Shanis Lawrence, Senior Clerk at Dominica’s Electoral Office, said:
“This week has been important for us. We have been able to listen and learn from other election management bodies from the region about the steps [which] they have taken to make their electoral processes more credible, transparent and inclusive. We will do our best to take this home and put it into practice.”
As part of the regional workshop, the Commonwealth Secretariat also hosted a hybrid panel discussion on 22 March, which was joined by more than 40 election administrators from the region.
The panel discussion brought together the Chief Election Officers of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to share insights into the role of leadership in building and maintaining confidence in the electoral process.
The workshop falls under the Commonwealth Election Professionals initiative, a multi-year project funded by the Government of Australia that offers professional development opportunities to election administrators throughout the Commonwealth.
Since 2013, more than 250 election professionals from 48 Commonwealth election management bodies have benefitted from at least one of thirteen regional workshops.
The workshop in Trinidad and Tobago is the fourth to be held in the Caribbean and Americas region.
- Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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