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Politicians likely to corrupt enumeration process - Chuck

Published:Wednesday | February 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Opposition Spokesman on Justice Delroy Chuck yesterday complained that the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is being given "basket to carry water" as members of parliament wrestled in the House of Representatives over enumeration responsibilities and constituency borders.

Chuck's North East St Andrew was one of two constituencies cited by Peter Bunting, the Government's representative on the ECJ, as being in breach of the law because it was below the lower average limit.

At the time of the report, Chuck said the North East St Andrew seat that he represents was in breach by less than 100 and South Trelawny, a mere 27.

"My understanding is that after the November (voters') list, South Trelawny is no longer in breach," he said.

Chuck suggested that the reason for the breach in his constituency was that many persons who reside in North East St Andrew have been enumerated in other constituencies.

Citing Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who resides near him in North East St Andrew, Chuck described the situation as a matter of great concern.

He said there were many others in the House who lived in one constituency and voted in another.

He said the ECJ should, therefore, be made to take over the responsibility of getting constituencies enumerated instead of politicians, who, he said, are inclined to operate not out of fair play, but in the interest of their parties.

GOOD JOB

"They (ECJ) have done a good job, but they are being given basket to carry water," said Chuck. "Politicians who carry out the enumeration process will do so in their own interest and are likely to corrupt the electoral process ... . I know I am stepping on toes," he said, amid growls of protest from government members.

Bunting tabled the report of the Standing Committee appointed to consider the delimitation of constituencies on behalf of absent House leader Phillip Paulwell, who has parliamentary responsibility for electoral affairs.

He said the May 2014 voters' list showed that the average number of electors per constituency was 27,597.51, with the upper limit being 41,396.26 and the lower being 18,398.34.

Bunting disclosed that the committee found that St Andrew North Eastern had 18,299 electors and South Trelawny had 18,370 electors, placing both constituencies below the lower limit.

As such, he said the committee concluded that the matter be referred to the ECJ to address not just the breaches in the two, but other anomalies relating to boundaries that have been unearthed.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com