Caribbean news. London, 6 June 2014 – Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma announced today that the Commonwealth will send an observer mission to Antigua and Barbuda for the country’s general elections this month. The Secretary-General constituted the mission at the invitation of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

 The Rt Hon Paul East QC, former Attorney General of New Zealand, is to lead the observer mission. Also serving on the mission is Mrs Rebecca Kabukie Adjalo, Commissioner with the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

Kamalesh Sharma. Photo courtesy www.ghanaianreactoronline.com

Kamalesh Sharma. Photo courtesy www.ghanaianreactoronline.com

Commenting on the significance of the 12 June polls, Mr Sharma said: “The upcoming elections represent a further opportunity for the people of Antigua and Barbuda to exercise their democratic right in electing their future leaders.  Elections lie at the very heart of democracy and I am delighted that the Commonwealth will be present to observe this process.”

The mission will consider the pre-electoral environment and election preparations. It will observe proceedings on Election Day, observe the counting of votes and the results process, and will determine whether the elections were conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which the country has committed itself to uphold. Where appropriate, it will make recommendations to the Electoral Commission for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.

The Commonwealth Observer Mission will be in Antigua and Barbuda from 6 June, supported by a two-person team from the Commonwealth Secretariat – Mr Tafawa Williams and Mr Linford Andrews, both political advisers.

The mission will submit its report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the Electoral Commission of Antigua and Barbuda, political parties and civil society organisations, and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.