Fri | Feb 28, 2020

ECJ hunts new chairman as Pine-McLarty retires

Published:Thursday | January 2, 2020 | 12:38 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Dorothy Pine-McLarty, former chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.
Dorothy Pine-McLarty, former chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.

The hunt is now on for a new chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) following Tuesday’s retirement of Dorothy Pine-McLarty after more than six years in the post.

Pine-McLarty was first made an ECJ independent commissioner in 2006 when the election oversight body came into existence. She later became chairman in 2013.

She also served on the Electoral Advisory Committee, the precursor to the ECJ, and was part of the cadre of guardians who overhauled voting protocols and diminished the incidence of bogus ballots.

“It’s been an honour for me to serve,” Pine-McLarty told The Gleaner yesterday, indicating that she has retired for personal reasons.

Pine-McLarty, an attorney-at-law with more than 50 years of experience, said that just like her decision to serve, her retirement was not easy.

“When the governor general called me, I was reluctant, and it took me a long time. It was a hard decision. And similarly, when I made the decision to retire, it was also a difficult decision because it was privilege to serve and a tremendous experience for me,” said Pine-McLarty,

Although she was hesitant when called on to serve decades ago, she is encouraging women to not shy away from public service.

“I feel it gives you inner satisfaction and teaches you not to be too, too critical when you get on the other side,” said Pine-McLarty, who wasa inducted into the Order of Jamaica in 2007 for outstanding public service and later won the Gleaner Honour Award for Public Service nearly a decade later.

“I don’t want other women to run scared from this sort of service because my innings has been very uplifting and very challenging at times, very, very challenging.”

Praised for service

Professor Alvin Wint, a long-standing commissioner of the ECJ, lauded Pine-McLarty for her contribution to the commission.

“Mrs Pine-McLarty had an excellent tenure as chair and leader of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica and she has presided over the development of the commission … . She also presided successfully over important transitions and presided over one of the most closely contested election in Jamaica’s electoral history which was conducted efficiently and with no level of angst or concern despite the level of closeness.

“She was very good in terms of moderating issues that came to the commission. She had a very successful period of leadership,” he said.