Monday, April 22, 2024

OAS reviews Haiti elections

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Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS),  Albert Ramdin, convened an extraordinary meeting in Washington of the Haiti Group of Friends to discuss the situation in the French-speaking Caribbean country, one month ahead of Presidential Elections.
Among the concerns raised at the meeting with close to 200 stakeholders was the possible impact of the cholera outbreak on the elections, the presence of tens of thousands of Haitians still living in tent cities, and reports of violence ahead of the November 28 poll.
 “We have to be realistic and pragmatic about the situation on the ground,” Ramdin said.
“Under the present circumstances, Haitian authorities, supported by the international community, are working hard to ensure that Haitians are able to exercise their right to vote, their right to elect a new President,” he added.
Responding to reporters’ questions about the expectations for voter turn-out, Ramdin said Haitians, in past elections, have demonstrated “strong commitment to democracy and high turn-out for the Presidential elections.”
 “Of course we hope that we will see that again,” he said.
Nineteen candidates are contesting the Presidential Elections, with some 4.7 million adult Haitians registered to vote.
The Chief of the Joint OAS-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Electoral Observation Mission in Haiti, Colin Granderson, said, in spite of the challenges, there is a “definite dynamic” heading into the elections.
“The Haitian electorate is benefitting, more parties are engaging, and the boycotting front is crumbling,” Granderson said here.
He pointed out that one of the challenges following the earthquake was the number of deaths that have not been recorded.
“Names cannot be removed from the electoral list without a death certificate. Hundreds of bodies were never identified,” he said.
 Yet, Granderson is confident that adequate safeguards have been put in place for the vote.
“ID cards, the use of indelible ink and other systems have been developed to deal with proper voter identification,” he said.
On reconstruction efforts, internationally-renowned structural engineer, Kit Miyamoto, expressed confidence in the ability of Haitian nationals to push the rebuilding efforts forward.
Miyamoto admitted that there was significant work to be done, but insisted that “change could be achieved in one year, with adequate political support from a new president.” (CMC)

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