Polling and counting staff conducted their duties competently and with integrity, says Report

One of the meetings held by the PAM party at the Ferry Terminal during the general eelction campaign (photo by Erasmus Williams)

ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 25 2010 (CUOPM) – Polling Day – January 25th 2010 “was a peaceful and successful process.”

That’s according to the Commonwealth Observer Team that monitored the recent election in St. Kitts and Nevis in which the incumbent St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party received 60 percent of the votes and 75 percent of the seats on St. Kitts.

“The voting and counting were conducted well and the Team observed that voters were able to exercise their right to vote in accordance with legal procedures, including secrecy. The high voter turnout and low number of spoilt ballots was testament to the successful exercise of the franchise by the people. The Team also observed that the polling and counting staff conducted their duties competently and with integrity, as did the party agents who were able to witness the proper conduct of the polls,” said the Commonwealth Report, released by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma on Friday. Advanced copies of the 33-page Report were received by the Office of the Prime Minister prior to public release.

In its report, the Commonwealth Team categorically stated that on polling day, the previous allegations and charges of bias laid against the election apparatus proved to be unjustified.

“The actual poll was conducted in an exemplary manner. The poll officials were clearly well-trained in respect of their functions, showing themselves to be patient, helpful and considerate to voters with difficulties, impartial, and displaying a commendable lack of partisanship. Even those who had not served in like capacities previously displayed confidence and aplomb in going about their tasks,” said the Report, pointing out that even in the relatively few cases witnessed by the Team of discrepancies regarding the identity or location of a voter, or other procedural issues, these were resolved professionally to the satisfaction of party agents.

“In general, a cordial and even friendly atmosphere prevailed between the election officials and the party agents in the polling stations,” said the Report, authored by Team Leader, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Opposition Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in New Zealand, the Hon. Chris Carter. Other Team members were Former Foreign Secretary of India and former Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Krishnan Srinivasan and Supervisor of Elections in Antigua and Barbuda, Ms. Lorna Simon.

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