Mon | Feb 19, 2018

EOJ re-enumeration project in limbo

Published:Tuesday | January 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Director of Elections, Orrette Fisher.

The planned re-enumeration exercise by the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), which was slated to begin during this financial year, has been shelved and the $700 million allocated in the Budget to start the process was removed in the First Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure, which was passed by the House of Representatives in early December.

The EOJ had submitted a budget of $2.5 billion in 2016 to carry out re-enumeration, but only $700 million was approved in this year's Budget.

Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said it would cost significantly more than the $2.5 billion now to carry out the exercise.

He told journalists yesterday that his office was far advanced in its plans to carry out the major islandwide event.

However, he said the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) sought clarification from the Attorney General's Department on some aspects of the proposed exercise.

"We have not yet received clarification and, therefore, the process has stopped because the funding would have been necessary in order for us to do the necessary hiring, training and procurement of equipment and so on," said Fisher.

He said while the ECJ awaited a response from the Government's chief legal officer, the $700 million set aside in this year's Budget for the exercise was removed in the First Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure.

Fisher could not indicate whether the money was reallocated elsewhere in the Budget.

"My expectation and anticipation is that having resubmitted the Budget for the new financial year, that the allocation will come and that we will be able to pick up where we had left off and proceed with the re-enumeration exercise," he said.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com