15 March 2004
A Commonwealth Expert Team will be present for the General Election in Antigua and Barbuda on 23 March. The team, which will begin work on Monday 15 March 2004, comprises:
Mr Arthur Donahoe QC - Former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and former Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, Canada
Ms Rita Seraphin - Former Chief Elections Officer, Dominica
Mr Kwesi Jonah - Head of the Governance Center at the Institute of Economic Affairs and Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Ghana, Ghana
Mr Donahoe will lead the Team, which will be assisted by three Commonwealth Secretariat staff members led by Ms Juliet Solomon, Special Adviser, Political Affairs Division.
The experts will be briefed in the capital by the Electoral Commission, representatives of political parties, civil society organisations, Commonwealth diplomats and other election observers. The Team has been asked by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon, to observe preparations for the General Election, the polling, counting and results process and the overall electoral environment.
The decision to send the Commonwealth Expert Team follows an invitation from the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda last year. Two Commonwealth missions were present in Antigua and Barbuda in 2003 to observe the voter registration process.
Note to Editors:
The members of the Expert Team will remain in Antigua and Barbuda until Sunday 28 March 2004. Their report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, political parties and all Commonwealth governments. The report will then be made public. Members of the Expert Team have been invited in their individual capacities and the views they express regarding the elections will be their own and not those either of their respective Governments or of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
For media enquiries please contact Juliet Solomon at +1268 462 0256.