The Caribbean Community (Caricom) has established a mission to observe Antigua and Barbuda's general elections, which are scheduled to take place Wednesday, March 21, 2018. The eight-member team, which is headed by Keith Lowenfield, the Chief Election Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, arrived on the island March 15.
According to a release issued by Caricom Secretariat, the role of the Caricom Election Observation Mission (CEOM) “is to observe the electoral process, collect qualitative and quantitative information regarding the voting process and the results to facilitate the preparation of a Final Report on the General Elections of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Lowenfield will be supported by Philip Turner from The Bahamas, John Haynes from Barbados, Leslie Harrow from Jamaica, Ambassador Micheal Powell from St. Kitts and Nevis, Alymphia Lionel from Saint Lucia, Ambassador Irwin Ellsworth John from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Pamela Ogiste from Trinidad and Tobago.
The group has already met with the country's electoral authorities, the heads of the local political parties and the Acting Executive Director of Gender Affairs, to “obtain an overview of the general atmosphere and level of preparedness for the electoral process.” They also paid a courtesy call to Gaston Browne, the current Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
On the day of the elections, the mission will monitor activities in most of the constituencies, including the opening of the polls through to the tabulation and announcement of results.
After the voting is over, the CEOM will issue a preliminary statement outlining the mission's initial assessment of the electoral process and will then prepare a final report which will be handed into Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, the Secretary-General of Caricom.
On February 24, PM Gaston Browne announced early general elections to “consolidate the leadership of the country, provide investors with predictability, to prove stability and provide continuity.”