The team of independent officials who the governor invited to the BVI to observe the 2019 General Elections has expressed concern that the Office of the Supervisor of Elections has virtually limitless latitude to operate without any organisation in place to monitor those operations.
On that note, election observers reiterated the need for the BVI to have an independent monitoring commission.
“There remains a perceived lack of democratic accountability and oversight of the Elections Office in the form of an independent Election Commission,” a preliminary report on the recently-held elections said.
While further noting that it had recommended an election commission after their observation of the BVI’s 2015 General Election, the observers said concerns about a lack of democratic accountability were raised by stakeholders they interviewed during this year’s elections.
These stakeholders include election candidates.
“Stakeholders expressed concern over the absence of adequate checks and balances in the running of the election, noting particular apprehension over the perceived arbitrary way decisions are made and the lack of a clear complaints and appeals process,” the report said.
Notwithstanding the concerns, observers offered commendations to the office for, as they describe it, “delivering an election at very short notice and implementing legislative amendments to the election law that were enacted less than a month prior to the election”.
“The Elections Office, comprised of mainly new staff, should also be praised for its professionalism and capabilities in its voter registration drive, competently rolling out new voter technology and an attempt to issue voter identification cards,” observers said.
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