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Election observers release 14 recommendations for future VI elections

- Commonwealth Parliamentary Association cites concerns with campaign financing amongst some issues
The Mission had been invited by the Governor, with support from the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition, and was conducted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR). Its remit was to assess the elections against international standards, commitments and obligations as well as domestic laws. Photo: CPA BIMR
CPA BIMR Election Observation Mission final press conference. Photo: CPA BIMR
CPA BIMR Election Observation Mission final press conference. Photo: CPA BIMR
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) independent election observation mission has published 14 recommendations in their final report on the Virgin Islands (VI) 2023 General Elections, citing concerns over campaign financing and Belongership status among some issues in the Election.

However, the observers sill concluded that the VI Elections Day was orderly, peaceful and well-run, voting on Advance Polling Day proceeded smoothly, and the legal framework in place offers a sound basis for democratic elections.

The association in a statement accompanying the release on July 3, 2023, said, “The mission noted a lack of campaign finance regulations, despite the extension of several international instruments which contain obligations of fairness and transparency in the conduct of elections." 

“Despite recommendations by previous CPA BIMR Missions, no legal changes were implemented before this election. The Mission also recommends that steps be taken to clarify the policies and practices on the ‘Belongership’ status that is required for persons to be entitled to vote.”

The Mission wants consideration given to introducing regulations which provide for disclosure and monitoring of campaign donations above a certain threshold for areas of improvement as part of 14 total recommendations highlighted in the Mission’s report that has been published.

Consolidate the Elections act 

As part of more recommendations, the mission called for more consideration to be given to the preparation of a revised consolidated version of the Elections Act, to facilitate ease of access to the law by electoral stakeholders as well as Substantive amendments to the election law should well in advance of the next election and never less than a year before, and should be based on broad consensus among the stakeholders as the first two recommendations.

They said Action could be considered to enhance access to information, with a particular focus on the availability of information on all stages of the legislative process, and voter information campaigns, particularly covering balloting procedures, should be carried out in a variety of formats, ensuring a broad reach.

The Mission also called for Clarification of the policies and practices on access to Belongership should be published, with subsequent amendments to existing legislation introduced to further legal certainty in the implementation of these policies and amendment of electoral law and practice, in order to respect the right to vote of prisoners serving prison sentences of less than twelve months, could be considered. 

Undertake census in the near future - Mission 

The Mission added that efforts should be made to undertake a census in the near future and more efforts could be made to improve the functionality of the electronic voter database, including data disaggregation by gender and age, and appropriate resources should be allocated to its update and maintenance.

Meanwhile, more recommendations included the ‘Right to Stand’ pertaining to a review of Section 65 (1)(b) of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007, which regulates the qualifications for elected membership of the House of Assembly, should be undertaken to consider compatibility with human rights protected under the Constitution and international human rights law and that paid for appearances of candidates in the media should be clearly labeled as such.

Finally, the mission said authorities could consider the introduction of temporary special measures to strengthen women’s participation in elections, as provided for in the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Along with provisions for political participation for persons with disabilities.

It also warned that party agents should not be witnesses to voting by persons assisted by Presiding Officers, in order to better safeguard the secrecy of the vote.

The Mission was invited by Governor John J. Rankin, CMG with support from the Premier Dr. the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) and the Leader of the Opposition Hon Ronnie W. Skelton (AL), and was conducted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region (CPA BIMR) to assess the elections against international standards, commitments, and obligations as well as domestic laws.

The final report can be accessed here.

8 Responses to “Election observers release 14 recommendations for future VI elections”

  • HMMM (13/07/2023, 12:04) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    i guess once any UK appointed entity that comes in the BVI under 'so called independent to the UK mission' and gave recommendations they become things the UK will push on BVI as MUST DO. Why? Because it is really the UK doing it but using the observers and COI Commissioner as fronters that would seem credible to the international world.
  • Information (13/07/2023, 12:06) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    It is time for the public to have access to all correspondences the Governor wrote to these people and the UK to get the commission of inquiry done. We may be surprised what factual misinformation they are known for just to get their way and make it seem justified.
    • @Information (13/07/2023, 13:46) Like (0) Dislike (3) Reply
      I think it was said that Alturo was doing all the writing which was the irony when it backfired.
  • NDP supporter (13/07/2023, 12:15) Like (4) Dislike (8) Reply
    Make sure the full report is made public. However, I am one of those who see clearly the BVI is being set up for failure by the Governor and the UK. They gave us a COI which gave 48 recommendations but turn out to be directives without debate and not recommendations to have implemented in less than a year which is IMPOSSIBLE! I agree some of the recommendations are valid, but most will destroy our culture and economy. The people's voices were not sought about these 48 recommendations neither. This is wrong and we need to watch this dictatorship play even with some of these new recommendations.
  • taxpayer (13/07/2023, 12:49) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    “Despite recommendations by previous CPA BIMR Missions, no legal changes were implemented before this election.
    Always we miss the deadline.
  • Silent Majority (13/07/2023, 14:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Get rid of electronic voting and bring back Dean "the sportsman" to shuttle between votes giving us updates on the score every 20 votes.
  • Struppes (14/07/2023, 10:43) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We not voting again

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