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NMCM holds its first meeting today

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The National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism (NMCM) will hold its first meeting of the 2010 election season this afternoon.{{more}}

Secretary of the Christian Council Godfrey Samuel told Searchlight on Monday, November 30, that the members of the NMCM have been called together, and after this afternoon’s meeting, a statement will be made as to “exactly what role they will play” leading up the elections.

The NMCM, which was first set up in 2000 just prior to the 2001 Elections, is chaired and convened by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Christian Council, and comprises representatives from the National Youth Council, the National Council of Women, the SVG Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the SVG Bar Association, and the three political parties.

In previous elections, the NMCM drew up a code of conduct, to which the three political parties agreed to adhere. The Christian Council and the NMCM were responsible for monitoring the Code, which includes the adherence to the letter and spirit of the Representation of the People Act.

Although the Code is not a legislative instrument, it is usually expected that all leaders and candidates will adhere to it.

After the 2005 elections, the NMCM, in their report, concluded that the general elections held on December 7, 2005, were generally free and fair, “notwithstanding institutional inadequacies, human shortcomings, procedural errors and administrative weaknesses.”

They however made eleven recommendations “in an effort to deepen the democratic process and provide greater transparency in every aspect of the election machinery.”

One of these recommendations was the abolition of the 15-day special registration period. According to the report, the recommendation was made because this period “has serious implications for the conduct of free and fair elections. It does not provide any safeguards for checks and balances, as to who is registered in this period.”