Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Home Lead Story The Absence of Election Observers in Election in Trinidad and Tobago

The Absence of Election Observers in Election in Trinidad and Tobago

Here is a  brief report on ICDN Zoom public meeting held last Sunday night (2/8/20)

(Dr. Kumar Mahabir drafted this letter to address the issue of absence of election observers in the election in Trinidad and Tobago)

August 5, 2020

 The Editor,

 The absence of election observers in the election in Trinidad and Tobago

 In light of the general election that will take place in Trinidad and Tobago in a few days, please publish the following item.

 BRIEF REPORT on ICDN ZOOM public meeting last Sunday night (2/8/20) on the topic

Follow NewsGram on Quora Space to get answers to all your questions.

The absence of election observers in the August 10th election in Trinidad and Tobago:

Can the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) be trusted?”

 The speakers were RALPH MARAJ, DR INDIRA RAMPERSAD and PROFESSOR SELWYN CUDJOE with DR BAYTORAM RAMHARACK substituting for RAVI DEV as the discussant.

 MARAJ said that he was concerned about the absence of foreign observers, particularly the Commonwealth mission. He added: “Whilst we have a tradition of free and fair elections, there is no guarantee it will continue. We must always remain vigilant. … We are told that the Prime Minister received a letter from the Commonwealth stating they cannot afford to send a mission under our quarantine arrangements. But when asked to show the nation the letter, Rowley retorted, ‘I am showing nobody any letter. I am telling you the people, and I know you will accept that from a Prime Minister who always tells you the truth.’ The uneasiness has increased among many citizens as we approach polling day.”

DR RAMPERSAD emphasized the role and importance of foreign observers in light of the historical experience, the recent elections in Guyana, concerns in the Reports of previous Observer Missions and predictions that the results would be a close fight. She cited the judgement of Justice Dean Armorer in the Opposition UNC’s election petition against the EBC. The Judge ruled: “Accordingly, it is my view and I hold that the extension of the poll on the 7th September 2015 was illegal, and election officers who failed to close the poll at 6 p.m. acted in breach of Section 27(1) of the Election Rules.”

The absence of election observers in the election in Trinidad and Tobago
Professor Cudjoe argued that developed countries such as the USA, Canada and the UK do not have election observers. Pixabay

PROFESSOR CUDJOE agreed with all the speakers that observers are important in overseeing the election process, but did not see it as necessary. He argued that developed countries such as the USA, Canada and the UK do not have election observers. He said that it is part of a colonial legacy in which white people must be invited to oversee how black people are voting: “It is time to strike for our own freedom.” A member of the audience pointed out that CARICOM observers are nearly all black.

 DR RAMHARACK examined the role played by the many international and local missions in observing the March 2nd 2020 elections in Guyana. He noted that the three previous speakers were not averse to having observers in T&T’s election on August 10th. Ramharack argued that the presence of observers would add legitimacy and confidence in the election to ensure that it would be more democratic.

Also Read: A Long Dispute Comes To An End

 MODERATOR DR KUMAR MAHABIR’S COMMENT: Justice Dean Armorer ruled that the decision of the EBC to extend the voting time past 6 p.m. in the 2015 election was not lawful. Yet, neither Ms. Fern Narcis-Scope, then EBC’s Senior Legal Adviser nor any of EBC’s public officers, have been charged for violation of the law or misbehaviour in public office, or suspended or expelled from the EBC. Narcis-Scope will again preside over the August 10th 2020 election, this time as the Chief Election Officer (CEO).

 The ZOOM public meeting was hosted by                     


 Dr Kumar Mahabir, Coordinator & Moderator

Indo-Caribbean Diaspora News (ICDN)

Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean

(AUTHOR’S BIO- Dr. Kumar Mahabir is an anthropologist who has published 11 books. He lives in Trinidad.)



Most Popular

From “Confusion” To “Clarity” Regarding Sanatan Dharma With Dr. Chandra Shekhar Mayanil

Dr. Chandra Shekhar Mayanil is a Neuroscientist who is currently living in Naperville, Illinois. He has constantly been engaging in topics related to Yog...

Top 5 Beach Activities in Asia

Blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Asia has something for everyone. From idyllic white-sand beaches fringed by palm trees...

Here’s Why You Should Switch to Contact Lenses, and It’s Not Just About Looks

Traditionally, we use eyeglasses for correcting vision problems such as near-sightedness (myopia) and far-sightedness (hyperopia). Glasses are both affordable and convenient to wear for...

This Indian Couple Run Street-Side Classes For Poor And Needy Children

On a quiet road in India's capital, tucked away on a wide, red-bricked sidewalk, children set adrift by the country's COVID-19 lockdown are being...

Lockdown Taught Me Greatest Lessons of Life: Mouni Roy

Actress Mouni Roy, who will soon be seen in the digital film, London Confidential, opposite Purab Kohli, says that lockdown taught her some of...

“It is Important To Support Folk Artists and Daily Workers in Trying Times”, Says Popular Singer Shaan

Popular playback singer Shaan says that folk artists and daily workers are keeping the music heritage and industry intact, and it's crucial for the...

Here’s How The Art of “Writing” Became an Empowerment Tool For These Female Authors

By Siddhi Jain Being a female author can come with its own set of challenges, especially when one is trying to juggle a career in...

Self-Driving Cars To Navigate Rush Hour Traffic On This Planet: NASA

A laser-based technology designed to help spacecraft land on a proverbial dime for missions to the Moon and Mars is also helping self-driving cars...

Recent Comments