Caribbean News

Opposition party claims government revokes invitation to OAS to observe elections

The main opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) Friday said that Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has revoked an earlier invitation to the Organisation of American States (OAS) to send an election observer mission for the June 5 general elections.

In a statement, the SKNLP said that the party’s leader, Dr. Denzil Douglas had on May 24 written to the hemispheric body urging it to send an observer mission after expressing its “most ardent disquiet” by the government to use the COVID-19 pandemic to “achieve an unfair political advantage in the upcoming general election”.

Douglas wrote that the measures included the announcement of the dissolution of the National Assembly more than 24 hours after coming into effect and the imposition of a six-month State of Emergency just prior to the announcement of general elections.

Douglas said that he hoped “the OAS will be actively observing the 2020 elections in St Kitts and Nevis adding “consequently, and in that hope, I look forward to an opportunity to discuss the issues raised herein with such a mission, and to being afforded the space to amplify and support the points outlined.”

But the SKNLP in its statement said that in response to the letter, newly re-elected OAS Secretary-General, Luis Almagro confirmed that the body had accepted a May 19th  invitation by Dr. Harris for the OAS to deploy an Electoral Observation Mission to the twin island Federation.

According to the Secretary-General’s May 28th letter “the team of observers, which is currently observing the post-electoral phase in Suriname, was expected to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis. Funding for the mission had been secured and the team had been cleared of COVID-19 after the team had been repeatedly tested in Suriname”.

But the SKNLP said that the OAS was informed by the government in a letter dated May 27th “that “following the establishment of a 14-day quarantine, it would not be feasible for the observer mission to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis”.

Almagro in his letter to Dr. Douglas said that “OAS/GS regrets that a practical solution was not put in place like was the case in Suriname to allow our observers to deploy, but is respectful of the sovereign decision”

Douglas said it was important for the regional and international community be informed of the decision of the Harris administration, saying he is “very, very concerned that something sinister is being planned.

“This is further vindication of our court action to bring an end to the unconstitutional State of Emergency as evidence mounts that it is being used by Harris for an evil purpose and to give the administration an unfair advantage in the upcoming elections”, Dr. Douglas added.

Prime Minister Harris, who will lead his three-member coalition, Team Unity into the elections, has not responded as yet to the SKNLP allegations.


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