Gov’t accused of revoking OAS invitation to observe polls

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) —The main Opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) claimed yesterday that Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris has revoked an earlier invitation to the Organization of American States (OAS) to send an election observer mission for the June 5 general elections here.

In a statement, the SKNLP said that the party’s leader, Dr Denzil Douglas, had on May 24 written to the hemispheric body urging it to send an observer mission after expressing its “most ardent disquiet” by the Government to use the COVID-19 pandemic to “achieve an unfair political advantage in the upcoming general election”.

Douglas wrote that the measures included the announcement of the dissolution of the National Assembly more than 24 hours after coming into effect and the imposition of a six-month state of emergency just prior to the announcement of general elections.

The SKNLP, in its statement, said that in response to the letter, newly re-elected OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro confirmed that the body had accepted a May 19 invitation by Dr Harris for the OAS to deploy an electoral observation mission to the twin island Federation.

According to the secretary general, in a letter dated May 28, 2020, “the team of observers, which is currently observing the post-electoral phase in Suriname, was expected to travel to St Kitts and Nevis. Funding for the mission had been secured and the team had been cleared of COVID-19 after the team had been repeatedly tested in Suriname”.

But the SKNLP said that the OAS was informed by the Government, in a letter dated May 27, “that following the establishment of a 14-day quarantine it would not be feasible for the observer mission to travel to St Kitts and Nevis”.

Almagro, in his letter to Dr Douglas, said: “The OAS regrets that a practical solution was not put in place like was the case in Suriname to allow our observers to be deployed, but is respectful of the sovereign decision.”

Douglas said it was important the regional and international community be informed of the decision of the Harris Administration, saying he is “very, very concerned that something sinister is being planned”.

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