St. Kitts and Nevis – The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS/EOM) in St. Kitts and Nevis, led by Ambassador Frank Almaguer, would like to congratulate the citizens of the country for their active participation in yesterday’s (Feb. 16th) General Election, reflected in a high voter turnout, and the civil and peaceful exercise of their franchise on Election Day.
The Mission observed that the counting and transmission of results was extremely slow, stemming from a series of procedural difficulties. More than 12 hours after the closing of the polls, there was no information on the outcome of the election, leading to speculation and uncertainty among Kittitians and Nevisians. The Mission noted that the delay in the dissemination of results was related to two main issues. First, counting started late due to instructions given to returning officers with regard to the transportation of the ballot boxes of the early voting, carried out on February 14 for essential services personnel and security forces. Second, challenges were presented during the counting process and some of the results were being contested.
Despite the problems encountered after the closing of the polls, the OAS/EOM was pleased to observe that in general, Election Day was carried out in an orderly and pacific manner. On Election Day, observers visited 85% of polling stations in all 11 constituencies of St Kitts and Nevis. They were present from the opening of the polls to the counting and dissemination of the results. OAS observers reported that most of the polling stations opened on time, were adequately staffed and fully equipped with all of the materials required for the election. The Observation Mission congratulates presiding officers, returning officers and poll clerks for their extraordinary commitment in the exercise of their duties. In general, presiding officers were extremely professional and diligent at giving instructions to voters regarding the procedures to be followed. Citizens waited patiently, sometimes in long lines, to exercise their right to vote.
The Mission congratulates Prime Minister-elect Timothy Harris and the St. Kitts and Nevis Team Unity for the victory in yesterday’s General Election and calls on all actors to respect the official results announced by the electoral authorities.
The OAS/EOM considers that, at this point, priority should be given to a calm and orderly transition. Nonetheless, a number of technical and procedural issues observed during this electoral process should be addressed during a post electoral period. In this sense, and in the spirit of helping the electoral authorities and citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis strengthen their democratic process, the Observation Mission will be issuing a more detailed report with its observations and recommendations.
The OAS/EOM wishes to thank the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis for the invitation to observe this process. In addition, the Mission would like to thank the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States for their contributions that made this mission possible.