by Linda Straker
The Organisation of American States (OAS) has confirmed to the government that it will be sending a mission to observe the 13 March General Election.
The arrival date is yet to be determined, but when Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell submitted the formal request, he indicated that Grenada would appreciate the arrival of the team earlier than normal.
The Prime Minister has also written to the Commonwealth, the OECS and Caricom, all of whom, have sent observers to Grenada since the 1984 General Election.
Since the announcement of the general election date, National Democratic Congress (NDC) political leader Nazim Burke, and his candidates have been calling for the OAS, the Carter Foundation and other organisations that are known for sending observer missions to developing countries hosting general elections, to be invited.
“I call on the Prime Minister [tonight] to invite the international bodies to come to Grenada to ensure we have a free and fair election in the upcoming elections,” Burke said, addressing party supporters.
Prime Minister Mitchell said that he had personally spoken to the OAS Secretary General more than 2 months ago about observers coming to Grenada and had formally submitted the request a little more than 6 weeks ago.
“The NDC is very late on this matter. The government invited more than a month and a half ago telling them to send a mission, and it’s not just the OAS, we have sent letters to the OECS, the Caricom Secretariat and to the Commonwealth Secretariat to have observer missions. And we told them to not just come just before the election, we want them long before, and they all promised that they would follow up,” said Dr Mitchell who explained that OAS has to source funding for such an undertaking.
Nomination day for the General Election is 20 February. It is after that date the voting population will know the number of candidates and political parties contesting to represent the 15 constituencies in the Lower House of Parliament.
At present, only 2 of the active 18 political organisations have presented candidates for each of the 15 constituencies. They are the ruling Keith Mitchell led New National Party, and the Nazim Burke led National Democratic Congress.