On December 20th, 2017, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) received a report from the OAS Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation on the OAS mission convened to observe the general elections of The Bahamas in May 2017.
Ms. Sherry Tross, who headed the electoral observation mission, commended The Bahamas on the conduct of the elections on election day, the efforts to expand access to voting to Bahamians overseas and the high turnout of Bahamian voters on election day. The OAS report also recommended reforms to digitize the work of the Parliamentary Registration Department, to regularize the tenure of Parliamentary Registrars and to introduce campaign finance regulations.
Upon receiving the report, Permanent Representative Collie thanked the OAS for its work in electoral observation and donor countries that financed the mission in the instance of The Bahamas.
Further, Permanent Representative Collie underscored that the May 10th elections were consistent with the longstanding democratic traditions of The Bahamas, namely that they were “free and fair and were characterized by a peaceful and civil transfer of power”, and that The Bahamas nonetheless “remain[s] on a quest to ensure that our democratic processes and each successive election exercise is more inclusive and efficient”.
Permanent Representative Collie affirmed that “The Bahamas will in earnest soberly review the report and, where deemed practical, make the necessary reforms predicated on lessons learned, international best practices and recommendations offered therein”. He also called upon the OAS to provide support for reforms that might be undertaken and to continue the valuable work of electoral observation.
Caption 1 – Permanent Representative Collie delivers The Bahamas’ response to the OAS Election Observation Report.