St.Lucia’s Ambassador to the OAS Defends Dominica’s Position on Electoral Observation

by: - November 27, 2019
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St. Lucia’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Anton Edmunds

St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Anton Edmunds spoke in Dominica’s defence concerning the OAS’ observing Dominica’s polls next month.

The OAS recently released a statement indicating displeasure that although Dominica has invited other observers, the government of Dominica has not invited the OAS to send an electoral observation mission.

The organization believes that the OAS electoral observation missions are the “gold standard” in ensuring free and fair elections inferring that next month’s elections may not be fair without their presence.

This was suggested by America’s ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo at a special meeting of the permanent council of OAS on November 22nd, 2019.

“We recognize that the sovereign government has the right to call elections at any time, the right to decide whether to implement election reform and the right to decide to request OAS observers. However, given the sensitivities along the election process, we urge both sides to refrain from actions that can be perceived as detrimental to the integrity of the election process, such as; facilitating the participation who may not meet the residency requirements of Dominica’s law, particularly in the absence of a process to verify their eligibility to vote,” he expressed.

Trujillo went on to state that “given the failure to implement recommended electoral reforms and the opposition complaints about the process, the OAS urges Dominica to consider inviting the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to observe Dominica’s elections. This is Dominica’s choice but an OAS Electoral Observation Mission can provide greater confidence in the legitimacy of the elections and the winner of the elections.”

However, St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the OAS, Anton Edmunds is convinced that the structure for constitutional government currently exists in Dominica.

“The framework for democracy and the practices of its principles exist in Dominica, including freedom of assembly and expression. We expect that all parties will act within the rule of law and respect for the constitutional order. We know that there is no deadly or widespread violence as Dominica prepares to hold elections within the current provisions of its constitution. The Caribbean has always have a strong tradition of democracy, notably free and fair elections. Considering previous electoral missions in the region, we know and are confident that Organization of American States as a constitution understands this. There must the recognition that there are a number of highly credible bodies that observe elections and the Commonwealth of Dominica has invited for them to observe its own elections,” he said.

Edmunds concluded, making it clear that, “there is no obligation for any member state to invite the OAS.”