Independent observers for the 2020 Island Council elections on St. Eustatius arrived on the island on Saturday October 3rd from Jamaica and are currently in quarantine due to the islands COVID-19 travel and quarantine policy. The two-person assessment mission, comprised of David Hamilton and Orrette Fisher, will examine the pre- and post-election processes as well as Election Day operations. They are deployed by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). Elections will be held on Wednesday October 21st.
The independent observers have already started working from their hotel room. In addition to an observation of Election Day, the assessment will identify challenges and vulnerabilities related to the institutional and legal framework, electoral operations, political finance, and other key areas. The analysis will also offer recommendations to address any challenges or needed reforms in the post-electoral period or in advance of future elections, as well as draw attention to good practices to be emulated in other contexts.
The assessment will utilize IFES’ Technical Election Assessment Mission (TEAM) methodology, a flexible and forward-looking assessment tool, which was also used to assess the Saba Island Council elections in 2019. This framework allows for an analytical approach within a standardized framework, ensuring a methodologically rigorous output that is tailored to the St Eustatius context. The TEAM assessment methodology uses international global practices as a benchmark to guide observations and actionable recommendations.
“St. Eustatius is the first municipality within the Dutch Kingdom that is holding elections in the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this has posed several challenges, I am satisfied with the work that has been done by the elections project team”, stated Marnix van Rij, Chairman of the main voting bureau. Voters can cast their votes at two separate locations this election: the Mike van Putten Youth Centre in Concordia and the Earl Merkman Sports Auditorium in Oranjestad.