Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
Chief of Mission for the Organisation of American States (OAS), Senator Lisa Shoman, says Jamaica is making progress on the issue of campaign financing which is attributable to the work the group has been doing to address the issue.
Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, Shoman said campaign financing was one of the areas of improvement based on its experience with the country in previous elections.
The team of 28 people, which has been in the island to observe the election process in some constituencies across the island, will be providing recommendations to ensure the transparency and credibility of the electoral process.
"There have been changes and a lot of the changes are improvements. On the issue of campaign financing, not only is there now pending legislation, but most recently disclosure by private companies as to their contributions.
"The OAS has done a lot of work on political campaign financing ... we have held extensive meetings with all of the stakeholders and that is something that we can see Jamaica is particularly moving towards and making progress on," she added.
At the same time, Shoman spoke highly of the readiness of the Electoral Commission and an almost violence-free campaign leading up to today's general election.
"We did an advanced visit of five days, speaking to all the stakeholders, getting a feel from them as to the state of readiness, the state of preparation, what the political climate is like, how things are going on the ground and we also note that nomination day was pretty calm," she said.
"So far, the Electoral Commission not only seems to be quite ready, but more importantly the political parties feel so as well. We also observe that so far there has been limited violence, so that is important."
Shoman said the group would be primarily observing 12 constituencies and then the team will move about to other constituency offices to observe.
While she did not disclose all the constituencies that the group will be targeting, she said those of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller are included.
"We choose certain polling stations because of the procedures that are been used such as the the electronic voter identification and ballot issuing system, so to be able to report how that goes and we will also be going in the difficult areas as well," she further explained.