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Warmington takes swing at electoral body

Published:Thursday | November 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

DESPITE A passionate appeal by Prime Minister Bruce Golding earlier this year for members of parliament not to disturb a time-honoured convention of dealing with reports of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), one of his charges, Everald Warmington, unleashed a broadside at the group.

While Golding was off the island Tuesday preparing to attend the funeral of Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson, Warmington was in Gordon House expressing displeasure about the way in which the ECJ operates.

"There is an organisation, a commission, that behaves like they are crown princes and emperors. They believe that whatever they say is law and it must be abided by," Warmington said.

The South West St Catherine member of parliament and junior minister was making his contribution to the debate on a report of the ECJ.

"If you find errors in their reports or recommendations, and you bring it to their attention, what you get from the commission is that you must amend the law of Jamaica to take in their recommendation," Warmington said.

He added: "You have a few guys who sit and dictate to Jamaica. Parliament is the supreme body and there should not be any organisations or groups that dictate to this House."

The ECJ is responsible for compiling and maintaining the register of eligible electors, verifying the identities of every eligible elector, approving political parties eligible to receive state funding, and administering electoral funding and financial disclosure requirements.

The commission comprises four selected members, four nominated members - including two appointees by the prime minister and two by the leader of the Opposition and the director of elections.

In March, Warmington staged a one-man walkout of Gordon House after failed attempts to register a nay vote against an ECJ report on the realignment of constituency boundaries.