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Political ombudsman to probe breaches - Parchment Brown concerned as complaints surge

Published:Monday | February 8, 2016 | 2:00 AM
Donna Parchment Brown
Delano Seiveright
Dr Fenton Ferguson
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Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown will be seeking a meeting with Delano Seiveright, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) prospective candidate for West St Thomas, and five-time member of parliament Dr Fenton Ferguson, after an alleged stand-off in the constituency on Saturday.

Seiveright yesterday dispatched a letter of complaint to Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams, which was copied to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang, as well as Parchment Brown.

Reacting to Seiveright's claims during a People's National Party (PNP) mass meeting last night, Ferguson labelled them "a tissue of lies".

He said that Seiveright, facing defeat at the polls, was seeking relevance.

"When you are on the ground and you realise that the thing is moving and moving away from you, you have to create a story," Ferguson said.Seiveright indicated in the letter that he, along with members of his campaign management team, filed a report with the Morant Bay police following "a major stand-off" between supporters of the JLP and the PNP in the vicinity of the JLP's constituency office in Port Morant.

He said his team was holding a series of workers' meetings at the constituency office when he heard that Ferguson was leading a group of PNP supporters in the vicinity of the office.

"In what was a provocative act of confrontation, the situation deteriorated into a stand-off in the street for approximately 45 minutes," stated Seiveright.

He complained that he and some his supporters felt threatened.

"Several armed men were seen posturing in a threatening manner," stated Seiveright.

"I am calling on you to swiftly investigate the matter and put in place measures to curb the increasing use of intimidation by Dr Ferguson and his supporters," he added in his letter to the police commissioner.

In the meantime, the political ombudsman said she would also be investigating a series of other breaches of the Political Code of Conduct in various parts of the country.

She said the incidents include continued hoisting of political flags along Mountain View Avenue in Kingston, where green and orange flags have been visible.

"There were flags there earlier in the year that were removed, so I'm extremely disappointed that this breach has been repeated, and letters are going to have to go in relation to that," she said.

 

POTENTIAL T0 ESCALATE

 

"I wrote to both general secretaries on Friday in relation to a number of areas where there had been incidents that have the potential to escalate, and those investigations will go forth with the local liaison officer for the division on Monday," she added.

Parchment Brown said her office would also be investigating other incidents in Christiana, Manchester; Spaldings and Lionel Town in Clarendon; and also in western St Mary.

She said she would also be looking into comments made by some party officials on the campaign trail, including suggestions by JLP Chairman Robert Montague that contaminated fuel on the market was imported from sources with connections to the terrorist group, Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Parchment Brown said she would also be investigating a comment by MP for South West St Ann, Keith Walford, about transforming his constituency into a garrison.

"I'm concerned about those utterances on behalf of those gentlemen because those utterances tend to create confrontation. They may be malicious, they may be slanderous and they certainly will be promoting political tribalism," she said.