While noting that their remit is not to police the 2019 election season, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR) has said residents of the British Virgin Islands are the ones who are ultimately responsible to ensure that candidates and parties involved in any unpleasant political conduct are held to account.
Elections analyst for the CPA BIMR Matthew Salik made that note amid concerns about the type of conduct that has muddied the local political space in recent times.
Speaking with members of local media on Tuesday, Salik said his organisation will only monitor the political environment and make subsequent recommendations. He made it clear that the CPA BIMR will not interfere or intervene in the political process in any way.
“We don’t have the authority to undertake those sorts of activities. Your government has not given us that authority, the people of BVI haven’t given us that authority,” Salik said.
“I would say that if there are areas of concern or if there is frustration or there is a desire for change, then that really has to be with the people of BVI to take forward. I know that probably doesn’t sound like a satisfactory response and that you would like us to be able to step in and do something. But, that’s not really our role and that’s not really why we are here.”
The elections analyst continued: “We will produce a report which is publicly available for the media and for every voter to read and review and to discuss. And if they feel that something ought to change, then really it’s up to them to put pressure on the authorities to make those changes.”
The BVI recently implemented a code of conduct for political candidates and parties to abide by during these elections. However, there are no penalties in place if the code of conduct is not followed.
Governor Augustus Jaspert invited the CPA BIMR to observe the BVI elections and compare against international standards as well as domestic laws. The CPA BIMR will observe political campaigning, electoral administration, voter registration and accessibility, polling, counting and tabulation, and post-election complaints or appeals.
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