By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
ELECTION observers are on their way to monitor the country’s general election as the advanced poll begins today.
All four international organisations invited by the government have confirmed their attendance to observe the electoral process on May 10, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Invited groups include: the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the United States of America.
For the Commonwealth, former Ghanaian Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh will serve as chairperson for a four-member team that will be in the country between May 4 and 13. Ms Tetteh will be joined by election supervisor Elvin Bailey of St Kitts and Nevis; gender specialist Lebrechtta Hesse-Bayne of Antigua and Barbuda; and chairman of the National Communications Network, Enrico Woolford of Guyana.
The mission will be a first for the Commonwealth, whose team will be assessing “whether the election has been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which the Commonwealth of the Bahamas has committed itself.”
In a press statement, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “I’m delighted that former foreign minister Hanna Tetteh has accepted my invitation to lead the Commonwealth Observer Group. Her experience will be a real asset in this important assignment. In offering their assessment on the conduct of the election and the overall credibility of the process, the group will be contributing to enhancing democracy in the Bahamas.”
Meanwhile, the OAS’ electoral observation team will be deployed today, according to Secretary General Luis Almagro.
Mr Almagro signed an agreement with interim representative of the Bahamas to the OAS, Chet Neymour, yesterday.
The mission will be the organisation’s second deployment to the country, and will be headed by the ombudsperson of the organisation, Sherry Tross, according to a press statement.
During the ceremony, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, Mr Almagro said: “The OAS is committed to accompanying the Bahamas in this important democratic exercise. We look forward to the successful conclusion of the process and to hearing the authentic voice and will of the people of your great democracy.”