Fatoumatta Njai, a member of the National Assembly of the Gambia and of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association British Islands and Mediterranean Region, said independent experts will be observing the Virgin Islands’ elections this week and making recommendations about the voting process. (Screenshot: GIS)

Members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association arrived in the Virgin Islands this week to observe the territory’s 2023 general elections.

Fatoumatta Njai, a member of the National Assembly of the Gambia, said during an April 18 press briefing that the CPA’s regional arm, the British Islands and Mediterranean Region, is working to build informed parliamentary communities in the area.

Governor John Rankin, with agreement from Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley and Opposition Leader Julian Fraser, invited the team to observe the elections today and Monday.

“The mission is an independent team of eight international observers, composed of parliamentarians, officials and analysts who will evaluate whether the electoral process adheres to international obligations and domestic laws,” Mr. Rankin said in a April 14 press release. “The CPA Mission have begun to reach out to key stakeholders including officials, candidates, civil society, and members of the public, and meetings will take place in advance of the general election.”

Mr. Rankin added that the group will publish an initial report on its findings on April 26 and a final report within two months after that.

Ms. Njai noted that CPABMIR first observed a VI election in 2011, and it has attended each one since then.


Accompanying her were legal and political analyst Anne Marlborough from Ireland; election observation leader Fleur ten Hacken from The Netherlands; mission coordinator Matthew Hamilton from the United States; and others.

“Our role isn’t one of assessment or comment about the political outcome of this election,” Ms. Marlborough said. “What we focus on is the quality of the election, the operational modalities of the election. We’re really looking at the conformity of the electoral process with domestic and international frameworks that govern the elections here in the British Virgin Islands.”

This includes the opening of polls and the casting and counting of ballots, she added.

Ms. Marlborough also said the team will evaluate whether everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in voting and the transparency of the entire process.

Their final report, Ms. ten Hacken said, will include recommendations for improvements.

Ms. Njai noted these independent recommendations will not be imposed in any way, but simply offered for consideration by the people of the VI.

Anyone wishing to contact the team can email cpabimr@parliament.uk.