At the invitation of the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett mounted a CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM) to observe the conduct of the General Elections which were held in the Commonwealth of Dominica on 6 December 2022 (“Election Day”).
The General Elections were called two years prior to when they were constitutionally due, against the backdrop of clarion calls for electoral reform in Dominica.
The seven (7) member Observation Mission comprising the Chief of Mission, Observers, and the CARICOM Secretariat’s support staff arrived in Dominica on Friday, 2 December 2022.
The CEOM comprised of nationals from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The CEOM is led by Ms. Fern Narcis-Scope, Chief Election Officer, Election and Boundaries Commission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
On polling day, the CEOM visited 113 of the polling stations across the 15 constituencies that were contesting the General Election.
The CEOM monitored the polling activities, which included the opening of the poll, the voting process, the closing of the poll and the preliminary counting of ballots.
From observations, the polls were opened in a timely manner in the majority of the polling districts. All the stations observed were fully staffed and most had at least one (1) polling agent present, representing the ruling political party and independent candidates that contested the General Election. Most polling stations were conveniently located and easily accessible to the voters, though some instances of accessibility challenges for the disabled, elderly and infirmed were noted. The Mission observed that there was an adequate supply of the required voting materials which were present to facilitate the opening of the polls. The Mission also observed overall that there was a low voter turnout. This may have been attributed, in part, to the Prime Minister’s call of a snap election and the opposition’s decision not to participate in the polls.
Adequate police security was in place at all locations visited, with officials conducting their duties in a professional and efficient manner. This likely contributed to the level of calm which accompanied the day’s activities. The poll workers generally appeared well trained and, in most instances, steadily carried out the required procedures, thereby ensuring that all eligible electors who turned out to vote were able to do so.
The initial assessment of Election Day activities by the CEOM is that the voters were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or fear, and that, in all material respects, the results of the December 6, 2022, General Elections are an accurate reflection of the collective intention of the voters who casted their votes on polling day. Notwithstanding the results however, it is the hope of the CEOM that the newly elected Government will continue and build on the efforts to date, to secure electoral reform for future elections in Dominica.
The Mission extends its appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations for its assistance and congratulates the staff of the Electoral Commission; poll workers; the political party and independent candidates; the security forces and the People of the Commonwealth of Dominica on the level of maturity displayed in the peaceful execution of the election day activities.
A full Independent Report will be prepared by the Chief of the CEOM for submission to the Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Her Excellency Dr. Carla Barnett.
The CARICOM Election Observation Mission wishes to thank all stakeholders, including the Leaders of Political Parties, Independent Candidates, Civil Society, the Media and the People of the Commonwealth of Dominica for their warm welcome and cooperation which contributed to the success of the Mission.