The seven-member team from the CARICOM Election Observation Mission who overlooked Dominica’s voting process on Tuesday said there was a low voter turnout and they hope that Roosevelt Skerrit would implement electoral reform going forward.
Skerrit and the Secretary-General of CARICOM Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett mounted a CARICOM Election Observation Mission to observe the elections.
The General Elections were called two years prior to when they were constitutionally due, against the backdrop of clarion calls for electoral reform in Dominica.
The team said in its preliminary report that on polling day, the CEOM visited 113 of the polling stations across the country that were contesting the General Election.
“The CEOM monitored the polling activities, which included the opening of the poll, the voting process, the closing of the poll and the preliminary counting of ballots. From observations, the polls were opened in a timely manner in the majority of the polling districts,” the team reported.
All the stations observed were fully staffed and most had at least one polling agent present, representing the ruling political party and independent candidates that contested the General Election, they said.
“Most polling stations were conveniently located and easily accessible to the voters, though some instances of accessibility challenges for the disabled, elderly, and infirmed were noted,” the statement said.
The Mission said they observed that there was an adequate supply of the required voting materials which were present to facilitate the opening of the polls.
They also observed overall that there was a low voter turnout. This may have been attributed, in part, to the Prime Minister’s call for a snap election and the opposition’s decision not to participate in the polls.
“Adequate police security was in place at all locations visited, with officials conducting their duties professionally and efficiently. This likely contributed to the level of calm which accompanied the day’s activities,” the mission wrote
They also pointed out that the poll workers generally appeared well-trained and, in most instances, steadily carried out the required procedures, thereby ensuring that all eligible electors who turned out to vote were able to do so.
“The initial assessment of Election Day activities by the CEOM is that the voters were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or fear, and that, in all material respects, the results of the December 6, 2022, General Elections are an accurate reflection of the collective intention of the voters who casted their votes on polling day,” they wrote.
Notwithstanding the results, however, the team said the CEOM hopes that the newly elected Government will continue and build on the efforts to date, to secure electoral reform for future elections in Dominica.
A full Independent Report will be prepared by the Chief of the CEOM for submission to the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community Dr. Carla Barnett.
The seven member Observation Mission comprising the Chief of Mission, Observers, and the CARICOM Secretariat’s support staff arrived in Dominica on Friday, 2 December 2022.
The CEOM comprised nationals from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Tobago.
The CEOM is led by Ms. Fern Narcis-Scope, Chief Election Officer, Election, and Boundaries Commission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.