Time is quickly running out says UNC leader: Where are the election observers?

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By Caribbean News Global contributor

Last month the United National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said international election observation and monitoring is an important mechanism for ensuring election integrity. Opposition leader Bissessar wrote to prime minister Dr Keith Rowley requesting international observers ahead of the August 10, general elections.

“We needed to ensure that our election is conducted in a free, fair, and just manner that will reflect the true mandate of the people,” said political leader of the UNC, Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Trinidad and Tobago opposition calls for election observers

“Prime minister Dr Rowley, in response to my call for international election observers on July 8, 2020, announced via his Facebook page that he wrote to CARICOM secretary-general Irwin La Rocque and Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland, QC, formally inviting them to send election observers to Trinidad and Tobago. However, almost two weeks later, and with just 17 days to go to the August 10 general election, we have heard nothing more of it,” the UNC leader Bissessar said.

A press statement from the National Secretariat of the UNC declared that “with the heightened level of alertness after the new local cases of COVID-19, the window for the required 14-day quarantine period for observers before the election date is closing,” and that, “the prime minister must act immediately to have these observers here by this weekend so they can be cleared in time for the election.” 

“It is worth reiterating that international election observation or monitoring is an important mechanism for ensuring election integrity, and the UNC continues to hold the firm view that international observers are needed to ensure that our election is conducted in a free, fair, and just manner that will reflect the true mandate of the people.

“As you may all know, international observers have in the past, played an important role in Trinidad and Tobago’s elections. In the 2007 and 2010 elections, we received observers from the Commonwealth and CARICOM, while the 2015 election was observed by the Commonwealth.”

UNC leader Bissessar reiterated that “time is quickly running out. I am calling on the prime minister to act immediately to put the necessary arrangements in place and update the nation on this matter. Let us do all we can to ensure our tradition of free and fair elections in Trinidad and Tobago is upheld while protecting the health and wellbeing of our nation,”  she said.

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