Trinidad & Tobago: PM: We don’t need election observers

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EVEN as Government has been trying to get an election observer mission in time for the August 10 general electiom, the Prime Minister says there is no need for such. Dr Rowley said on Monday that TT has been able to hold clean and fair elections in the past and he is certain this would continue in this year’s polls.

A media release on Sunday stated government was trying to ensure there is an observer mission present, but cost challenges by the international contingents remain an issue.

Rowley told reporters on Monday at the opening of the Gran Chemin fishing facility in Moruga that election observers have never been a part of TT’s election process and the country is capable of conducting elections without them.

“Even if we do not get observers here, we do not conduct our democracy based on observers. TT has a long and distinguished record in conducting elections. So if there are people who believe that that is a requirement for elections, then they are on their own with that,” Rowley said.

He reiterated his confidence in the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) and said if there were election observers, they would find a good election process.

“I am sure if they (election observers) came here they would endorse our elections because the EBC is one of the country’s better institutions, and we have every confidence the EBC will do a very good job. We are ready for a smooth election, the EBC is ready and TT will conduct its election with or without observers.”

Rowley noted that a request was made but there was nothing more the government can do to have either Caricom or Commonwealth observers present.

On July 9, an invitation was made to both entities after UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar wrote Rowley calling for international observers.

Rowley explained that, “Both Caricom and Commonwealth were having difficulty in getting people to agree to the conditions and making the physical movements, and in case of the Commonwealth they do not have the required financial resources.

“I am pretty certain that the Commonwealth would not be sending anybody based on what they have said to us and Caricom was still trying to get a contingent.”

Should there be election observers in TT as at the initial date of request, they would have had to be in the country by July 24, in order to undergo the mandatory 14-day covid19 quarantine.

Source Trinidad & Tobago NewsDay

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