Last week’s general elections in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have been declared “free and fair” by the CARICOM Election Observation Mission in a preliminary statement to CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque.
Prim Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ United Labour Party entered the record books after securing a fifth consecution term when voters in SVG took to the polls on November 5.
In its preliminary statement on the elections published yesterday (November 7), the observation mission, headed by Anthonyson S. King of Antigua and Barbuda, said the polls were also free from fear and that the outcome reflected the will of the people.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party won nine of the 15 seats contested in the Elections, with the other six going to the opposition New Democratic Party led by Lawyer Dr Godwin Friday.
The Mission held meetings with various stakeholders in the runup to the elections and observed the Elections Day voting process.
It’s assessment of the Election Day was that there were no incidents of intimidation of voters inside or outside of the voting precincts.
“The agents of the parties also testified that there were no irregularities and that the process was generally peaceful and orderly,” the Mission said.
“At the polling stations, the voters’ identification card was collected by the presiding officer who called out the name and number of the said voter for the benefit of the agents of the parties. At every polling station the voters were told about the way to vote and how to return the ballot which was inserted in the ballot box by the presiding officer.”
The Mission said it observed that adequate health measures were in place to protect voters against the COVID-19 pandemic at the polling stations visited and that, on the day of the election, each voter received a mask.
Measures were also put in place for more than 200 voters in quarantine to exercise their franchise.
“All members of the Mission agree that the process was conducted according to law and was done without any intimidation or fear,” the statement over King’s name read.
“They also reported that there was adequate security at each location and that the officers displayed a very professional approach to their duties.
“I therefore conclude that the election was free and fair and free from fear and that the outcome presented the will of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” King said.