Wed | Sep 19, 2018

PNP reps claim to witness abuse of former EOJ boss!

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/ Senior Gleaner Writer
Fisher
Orrette Fisher
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People's National Party (PNP) commissioners to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) have said that they have been witness to claims of abuse made by the former director of elections, Orrette Fisher, who resigned from the body in the middle of a court case last month.

The two commissioners, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson and selected member Wensworth Skeffery, in a joint statement yesterday said that they were withdrawing their support for a previous statement released by the ECJ indicating that it found no evidence of political interference. In several letters to the commission, Fisher had cited instances of verbal abuse directed at him and the independent commissioners on the panel by another commissioner.

Having seen the letters issued by Fisher detailing political influence and abuse, the two PNP commissioners have said, "We are deeply concerned that these issues raised by Mr. Fisher could affect the integrity of the operations of the ECJ and public confidence in the institution.

"Since joining the commission (Robinson, July 2017, and Skeffery, January 2018), we have seen and witnessed first-hand behaviour from a commissioner that we view as disrespectful, abusive and hostile to the former director, Mr Fisher, as well as to other members of the ECJ, including independent members," read the statement.

Describing the behaviours displayed as unprecedented within the ECJ, they called for decisive steps to be taken to resolve the matters.

"On these occasions where we have seen this behaviour, we have both challenged the commissioner in question and sought the intervention of the chairman and other independent members to restore decorum," Robinson and Skeffery stated.

According to them, they have withdrawn support for the statement issued by the ECJ on May 13, 2018, even though both participated in the meeting where the statement was drafted and agreed with its contents.

Fisher resigned in the midst of a court case challenging the legitimacy of two one-year contracts that he was offered following the end of his seven-year contract in 2015.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com