Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 3rd, 2020 (ZIZ News): Training for local observers for the upcoming general elections took place on Tuesday morning at the Antioch baptist church. Due to the fact that observers from the OAS mission will not be overseeing this week’s elections, the observer group will be made up of local members of the st. Kitts and Nevis christian council and evangelical association.
The training was facilitated by the former supervisor of Elections Eugene Petty who spoke of the significance of the day’s training.
“The purpose of the training session was to assist persons in gaining a better understanding of what is involved in observing elections. I first tried to impress upon them the important role of an observer. I also took them through the electoral process in terms of observing the opening of the poll, voting, counting of the ballot and closing of the poll. I think persons left with a better understanding of what is required of them in performing in a very impartial manner,” he said.
In speaking about the church’s new role as election of observer, pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church Lincoln Connor said the idea was never for the church to work alone in this capacity.
“ The reality is that the church has always been a part, working with other groupings and that was the expectation leading up to the elections and I think for persons to say ‘let the church alone do it’, I think that’s hypocrisy.” He said, “In elections gone by, the opposition has always rallied the government to have oversees observers and as a matter of fact, the current administration made it clear that there had to be observers on the ground. I have seen the role that oversees observers play when they come and we should not minimize or downplay the expertise of overseas observers. We really should not do that because I really believe that it does not speak well for our democracy because we have not developed that cadre of observers on the ground to do exactly what is required.”
Provost and Parish Priest of the Pro-Cathedral of St. George with St. Barnabus Rev. Canon Dwayne Cassius said while the training was informative, as it stands, he is undecided as to whether or not he will participate in the observer mission on Friday.
“I’m a bit uncomfortable because the time is so close and in my mind, its sort of like taking a crash course to do a professional job. It’s one thing to say ‘I believe in God and God can do all things’ but at the same time, there has to be a certain amount of practicality that has to be involved in processes. My thing is, where and when better can be done, better should be done. So honestly I’m a bit undecided right now whether or now I am going to be involved in the process.”
The observer training continued with a virtual session at the ICT center on Tuesday afternoon.