The Election Observation Mission has begun their official tour of duty as observers for the February 25 General Election.
The mission is made up of officials from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region and will depart the Territory on February 27.
The officials paid courtesy visits to His Excellency the Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert, Deputy Governor Mr. David D. Archer, Jr; Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE; Supervisor of Elections Ms. Juliette Penn, members of the media, candidates and persons representing the political parties among others.
At a press conference today February 19, Head of the Mission, Honourable Pam Webster, MNA of Anguilla said the team is in the Territory on invitation from His Excellency the Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert and that the invitation was supported by both the Government and the Opposition.
The mission will observe all aspects of the electoral process in accordance with international standards, including the Virgin Islands’ commitments under international law as well as domestic legislation. This includes the legal framework, electoral administration, voter registration and accessibility, the campaign, the media, polling and counting, complaints and appeals.
The officials will also observe the process at polling stations on Election Day, paying specific attention to the opening and closing of the polls. They will also observe the counting and tabulation of results and the immediate post-election period.
Other members of the mission include Election Observer from Scotland Jaime Greene MSP, Election Observer from Malta, Glenn Bedingfield MP; the Election Analyst from Spain, Merce Castells; Election Analyst from the United Kingdom, Matthew Salik and the Election Coordinator from Germany, Felicity Herrmann.
The Observer Mission will publish a report within two days following the election to outline the initial findings. A closing report will be published within two months after the election offering recommendations for potential electoral reform.
The Election Observation Mission is being guided by the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, adopted by international bodies involved in election observation at the United Nations in October 2005.
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Photo 1: Election Observation Mission Team: (l to r) Election Analyst from Spain, Merce Castells, Election Coordinator from Germany Felicity Herrmann, Head of the Mission Honourable Pam Webster, MNA of Anguilla and Election Analyst from the United Kingdom Matthew Salik. (Photo Credit: GIS/Franklyn Skerritt)
Photo 2: Members of the Media as they interact with the Election Observation Mission (Photo Credit: GIS/Franklyn Skerritt)