The 10-member CARICOM Election Observation Mission which recently observed the elections in Saint Lucia. (Image courtesy CARICOM)

“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 the results of the 26 July 2021 General Elections reflect the will of the people of Saint Lucia…”

The assessment of the 10-member CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM) to Saint Lucia, who observed that country’s General Elections on Monday 26 July 2021, and advance polls on Friday 23 July 2021, and commended Saint Lucians for “the level of maturity displayed in the peaceful execution of the election’s day activities”.

In the Preliminary Statement issued by CEOM, the Chief of Mission reports the following:

1.  CEOM visited a majority of the polling stations across the 17 constituencies and monitored the polling activities, which included the opening of the poll, the voting process, the closing of the poll and the preliminary count of ballots.  Additionally, the Chief of Mission visited Saint Lucia’s Parliament, where Election Commission officials were receiving the election results electronically.

2.  The polls were opened in a timely manner in the majority of the polling districts.  All the stations observed were fully staffed and most had at least four Polling Agents present, representing the two major political parties that contested the general election.

3.  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 Mission observed that there was an adequate supply of the required voting material which arrived promptly to facilitate the opening of the polls. 

4.  Adequate police security was in place at all locations visited, with officials conducting their duties in a professional and efficient manner. This contributed to the level of calm which accompanied the day’s activities. However, a higher level of police participation could have been engaged in maintaining social distancing amongst electors in the queues. 

5.  The poll workers were focused as they steadily carried out the required procedures, thereby ensuring that all eligible electors who turned out to vote were able to do so. Their efforts to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and sanitise the polling stations after each elector voted is also commendable.

The CEOM had been invited to observe the Saint Lucia poll by Allen M. Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.

The 10-member Observation Mission comprised nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The team was led by Ms. Fern Narcis-Scope, Chief Election Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Elections and Boundaries Commission, who is expected to submit soon a full Independent Report for submission to CARICOM Secretary-General His Excellency Irwin LaRocque.