Former Prime Minister of Jamaica to head Commonwealth Expert Team observing Bangladesh elections

27 December 2023
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Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon Bruce Golding, will lead a ten-person Commonwealth Expert Team (CET) assigned to observe the Bangladesh general elections, to be held on 7 January 2024. Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, following an invitation from the Bangladesh Election Commission, appointed the cross-functional team of experts.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General said:  

“The Commonwealth’s commitment to fostering peaceful, fair and credible elections is unwavering. Impartial and independent elections observers provide valuable recommendations to improve and strengthen the elections and democratic processes.

“The team’s deployment demonstrates the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to supporting electoral democracy in our 56 member countries and safeguarding the rights of the people of Bangladesh as they take part in these pivotal elections.”

She also expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Golding, who will chair the CET, and to each of the eminent experts, drawn from across the Commonwealth, who will participate in this important assignment.  

The expert team will consider all aspects of the election process and provide their observations on whether the elections are conducted in line with the democratic standards to which Bangladesh has committed itself. The CET will also be supported by staff members from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Chairman of the CET, said:

“It is my honour and privilege to have been asked to lead this team and to once again, serve the Commonwealth. I am pleased to be collaborating with this expert team which, as is customary, includes experts from diverse backgrounds, countries and professions. In conducting our duties in Bangladesh, we pledge to remain objective, transparent and independent.”  

The full composition of the Commonwealth Expert Team includes:

  • Chairperson: The Honourable Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister, Jamaica  
  • Dr Samuel Azu’u Fonkam, former Chairman, Elections Cameroon
  • Mr Sabyasachi Banerjee, Advocate and Special Public Prosecutor, Calcutta High Court, India  
  • Ms Pauline Njoroge, digital media specialist, Kenya
  • Mr Jeffrey Salim Waheed, former Deputy Foreign Minister, Maldives
  • Prof Attahiru Jega, former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria
  • Ms Hennah Joku, media specialist, Papua New Guinea
  • Prof Dinesha Samararatne, Professor, Department of Public & International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo and Member of Constitutional Council of Sri Lanka; Sri Lanka
  • Ms Terry Dale Ince, gender and human rights advocate, organizational development consultant and Founder of CEDAW Committee of Trinidad and Tobago  
  • Mr Mark Stephens, Partner, Howard Kennedy LLP and Member of Commonwealth Lawyers Association, United Kingdom

Throughout their time in Bangladesh, the CET will meet various stakeholders, including political parties, police, civil society groups, citizen observer and monitor groups, as well as representatives from the media.  

From 6 January, the team will also deploy in small groups around the country to observe electoral preparations in their respective areas. On election day, the team will observe the opening, voting, closing, counting and results management processes.  

Media contact

  • Charmaine Wright  Head of Media Relations, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6242  |  E-mail