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Former CPA Secretary-General to lead Commonwealth Observer Group for Guyana Elections

18 November 2011

Former Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Secretary-General, the Honourable Denis Marshall QSO, who also served as a minister in the New Zealand government, will lead a 15-member Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) for general and regional elections in Guyana, scheduled to take place on 28 November 2011.

The Group was constituted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma at the invitation of the Government of Guyana.

“The Commonwealth has a long history of engagement with Guyana, and we are pleased to be observing these important elections,” said the Secretary-General. “We hope the electoral campaign and ballot will further strengthen democratic processes there, and that all participants will engage peacefully and constructively throughout.”

The Group’s mandate is to observe and consider all aspects of the electoral process with a view to assessing compliance with the standards for democratic elections to which Guyana is committed. Where appropriate, the Team may also make recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral framework.

The Group will act impartially and independently, and conduct itself according to the standards expressed in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth is a signatory.

The Group’s report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will convey it to the Government of Guyana, the Guyana Electoral Commission, political parties, and in due course to all Commonwealth governments.

The COG, which will arrive in Guyana on 21 November 2011 and be in the country until 5 December 2011, comprises:

Chair: The Hon Denis Marshall QSO

CPA Secretary-General (2002-6) and formerly Minister of Conservation, Forestry and Lands

New Zealand


Hon Alan Ferguson

Former President of the Senate



Mrs Taleya Rehman

Executive Director, Democracywatch



Ms Wendy Sawatzky

Media Expert



Mr Gerald Burton

Chairman, Election Commission



Mrs Nana Oye Lithur

Human Rights Expert



Mrs Rina Ray

Chief Electoral Officer, New Delhi



Ms Catherine Musuva

Elections Expert



Mr Dafe Akpedeye




Hon Mr Justice (Retd) Fazal-ur-Rahman Bazai

Election Commissioner



Mr Oliver Knight

Elections Expert

St Kitts and Nevis


Mr Andi Schubert

Youth Representative

Sri Lanka


Ms Adelle Roopchand

Communications Expert

Trinidad and Tobago


Mr Timothy Neale

Media Consultant

United Kingdom


Mr Goodwell Lungu

Executive Director, Transparency International