'We will not compromise'
The following are excerpts of a speech by the chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, Dorothy Pine-McLarty, at a recent breakfast forum in Kingston:
We at the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) and the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) are delighted that you have carved out time from your schedules to be with us this morning.
This represents your deep interest in Jamaica's welfare and progress, and an undying interest in the strengthening of its democracy.
Your attendance, too, is a demonstration of your strong support for the work of the ECJ and the EOJ institutions established to defend the integrity of the country's electoral process. We will not compromise on this undertaking.
We also pledge to continue to be an important part of the process to design the road map for the future of our country's democracy, one that will extend to all our people all of the time by way of constant year-round focus of attention, not just at election time. However, this must be a partnership.
All sectors of the society must become involved in the thrust to safeguard our democracy: non-profit organisations, universities, service clubs, professional organisations and the Government. Indeed, all Jamaicans. We urge all to come on board.
The EAC/EOJ will commence implementation of public information and public education programmes on a phased basis to increase public awareness of all aspects of the electoral system, including voter registration, the polling process, political party registration, campaign financing, recommendations to Government on technological advances, to further the preservation of our democracy.
We must ensure that the methods and materials we generate, as we strive to improve the systems, must heighten public awareness and have maximum impact for the public who use them and not just those of us who work within the electoral system.
It would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to commend the members of staff of the Electoral Office who help to ensure the reliability of Jamaica's electoral process. And also pay tribute to the previous members of the Electoral Advisory Committee and the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, all of whom have contributed tremendously and set us on a path of recognition, both nationally and internationally. Of course, the modus operandi of the commission is based on consensus, which is not always easily achieved.
There is still a great deal yet to be achieved and despite the many challenges, we must work together to manage and overcome for the greater good of our country which we love so dearly.