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
Hon Alan Ferguson
Former President of the Senate
Mrs Taleya Rehman
Executive Director, Democracywatch
Ms Wendy Sawatzky
Mr Gerald Burton
Chairman, Election Commission
Mrs Nana Oye Lithur
Human Rights Expert
Mrs Rina Ray
Chief Electoral Officer, New Delhi
Ms Catherine Musuva
Mr Dafe Akpedeye
Hon Mr Justice (Retd) Fazal-ur-Rahman Bazai
Mr Oliver Knight
St Kitts and Nevis
Mr Andi Schubert
Ms Adelle Roopchand
Trinidad and Tobago
Mr Timothy Neale
Mr Goodwell Lungu
Executive Director, Transparency International