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OAS’ Assistant Secretary General in Jamaica for Caribbean Electoral Organizations meeting

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin arrived in Jamaica on Wednesday (Nov. 5) to represent the Organization of American States’ (OAS) as the Association of Caribbean Electoral Organizations (ACEO) holds its third general meeting starting Thursday.

His Jamaica visit includes a separate program aimed at boosting relations between the University of the West Indies (UWI) and universities in Haiti.

Albert R. Ramdin

Ambassador Ramdin will address the ACEO conference alongside Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding; Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica Professor Errol Miller; and President and CEO of the International Federations of Electoral Systems (IFES) Jean-Pierre Kingsley, among others.

The ACEO conference will feature several roundtable sessions to review past activities of the ACEO and general reflections on the usefulness of a Caribbean Electoral Association; the role of electoral management bodies in political party and campaign financing; the challenges of electoral technologies in the Caribbean; Stakeholders in the electoral process: the role of civil society, political parties and the media to support electoral management bodies; and ACEO: future priorities and activities. Founded in 1998, the ACEO seeks to address the challenges that the electoral management bodies faced in the Caribbean.

Other electoral officials that will participate at the three-day meeting in Kingston include Chief Election Officer of the Belize Elections and Boundaries Commission, Ruth Arleen Meighan; Chief Election Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission Gocool Boodoo; and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat Director of Foreign Policy and External Economic Relations, Charmaine Atkinson-Jordan.

The agenda includes a working session between Francophone African Electoral Officials and Haitian Electoral Authorities and a tour of the Electoral Office of Jamaica.

Meanwhile, the meeting with the UWI is part of initiatives to promote hemispheric cooperation in education is a priority for member states, as reflected in the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the Summit of the Americas process and resolutions approved by member states.

Ambassador Ramdin, who has described education as “a basic and essential pillar for economic growth, citizen prosperity human security, and good governance,” had launched an initiative to facilitate collaboration between the University of the West Indies and universities in Haiti, back in 2007.

During the meeting in Jamaica, he will participate in discussions with various UWI officials, among them Vice Chancellor Prof. E Nigel Harris; Pro Vice Chancellor Prof. Gordon Shirley; and CARICOM Assistant Secretary General for Human and Social Development, Dr. Edward Greene. As well, the meeting includes participation from Haitian universities: Rector of Quisqueya University, Prof. Jacky Lumarque; Rector of the State University of Haiti, Prof. Vernet Henry; and Prof. Fritz Jean, Representative of Notre-Dame University.

Included on their work program in Jamaica is a look at areas for cooperation and sources of funding. A seminar on “Republic of Haiti: challenges and opportunities” is part of the initiative that is expected to produce recommendations and follow-up mechanisms.

A coordinated and joint initiative of the OAS Assistant Secretary General’s Office, the UWI, Haitian universities and the CARICOM Secretariat, the initiative of the Jamaica meeting seeks among other objectives to assist in the strengthening of Haiti’s integration in the Caribbean Community as a full fledge member of that sub-regional integration system. It also seeks to foster exchange of information, technology and know how between Haitian universities and the University of the West Indies on a more structural basis; encourage student exchange between Haitian universities and the UWI to raise awareness, understanding and knowledge of Haitian circumstances; and build capacity in Haiti through joint programs and courses including in middle management and administration, so as to strengthen implementation, capacity, key institutions and governance.

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