Former legislator Norman Bodden will head a team of local observers overseeing next week’s election.
It is the first time locally appointed observers have been used in a general election in the Cayman Islands. They will work independently of the Commonwealth Observer Group, which arrives Wednesday to oversee and report on the election.
Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez said the decision to deploy a domestic observer team had been made following the success of similar measures during referendums on a Cayman Islands constitution and electoral reform.
He said the process had begun long before the concept of international observers was ever suggested. The team will roam polling stations during the 22 May vote.
They will not be asked to produce a written report on their findings, but will report to the elections office during the post-poll appraisal process.
Mr. Gomez said: “Having domestic observers at elections and referendums provides another tier of scrutiny, which is fundamental to the delivery of free and fair elections.
“The domestic observer team will be concentrating mainly on operational issues at the polls and count to determine whether all procedures are being followed.
“They will be provided with checklists, which address such issues as opening of the polls, queues at polling stations, expeditious polling, the close of the polls and the conduct of various counts in the six electoral districts.”
He said they would function independently of the foreign observers but would assist them, if necessary.
“Local observers have an advantage because they are familiar with our customs and our culture and the people themselves.
“We have a good team with a lot of experience, they have over 100 years of experience between them.
“We did this for the referendums and it worked beautifully, so we decided to do it for the general elections as well.
“This was decided long before we heard about international observers.”
The domestic observers are: Norman Bodden, team leader; Georgette Myrie; John MacMillan; Alson Ebanks; Gilbert Connolly; Carol Winker; Adrian Estwick; and Edgar Ashton Bodden and Joel Scott on Cayman Brac.