Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has issued an official statement, clarifying the facts surrounding the invitations extended to the Commonwealth and to CARICOM, to consider sending Election Observation Missions to this country, for the General Election carded for Monday 10 August 2020.

The statement comes as the Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC), accuses the Prime Minister of misleading the population on why the Commonwealth observers would be unable to be in the country in time for quarantine and the General Election.

In the statement, the Government maintains that costs associated with the Mission being housed in quarantine were one of the key considerations for the Commonwealth.

The full text of the Government’s statement, follows…

ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSIONS REQUESTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues its efforts to ensure the presence of Election Observers in Trinidad and Tobago prior to and during the National Parliamentary Elections scheduled for August 10, 2020. Prime Minister Dr the Hon. Keith Rowley, extended invitations on July 9, 2020 to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Commonwealth to consider sending Election Observation Missions to Trinidad and Tobago during the upcoming National Parliamentary Elections, scheduled for August 10, 2020

It was indicated then, that as part of our COVID-19 protocol, we were requiring that all entrants to Trinidad and Tobago agree to mandatory quarantine for fourteen (14) days prior to any mixing with the local population. As such it was advised that selected observers should arrive in Trinidad and Tobago by July 24, 2020 in preparation for the designated exercise to take place after the mandatory quarantine.

Both organizations have advised of their inability to meet the cost associated with the fourteen (14) day quarantine period required for entry into Trinidad and Tobago which is an integral part of our management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, they cited constraints due to financial strictures that disallow them from meeting this cost.

To ensure the integrity of the contribution of the Missions (recommendations and the report of Observation Missions), it is deemed necessary that the host Government (Trinidad and Tobago) not cover the costs related to the quarantine of members of the Election Observation Missions.

Requests have been made by Trinidad and Tobago to potential benefactors within the Commonwealth community to cover these costs. To date, no definitive positive results have been obtained and the timely arrival has expired if persons were to follow the established mandatory protocol.

In the event that any alternative arrangement for travel becomes available, such requests will be subject to conditions laid down by the Chief Medical Officer in the most facilitatory and safe way.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to persevere in attempting to secure the necessary resources and modalities to encourage the arrival of at least one Election Observation Mission. At this time it appears that only a CARICOM mission might be available if health protocols can be met.