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CAFFE deeply disturbed by ECJ impasse; demands clarification

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Former Director of Elections Orrette Fisher

Citizens Action for Fair and Free Elections (CAFFE) says it is deeply disturbed by what it describes as the unhealthy and contentious impasse between the former director of elections and the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ).

CAFFE says the issue is not clear and needs to be clarified.

In a release to the media today, CAFFE said the former elections director spoke of political influence and not interference.

It says the distinction is subtle and therefore requires clarification on which of the two is the issue at hand.

"The question is whether the influence or interference is for the wrong purpose or dictated by improper motive," CAFFE pointed out in its release. 

The elections watchdog says it is expected that the political representatives on the ECJ will express the views of their political party in a manner that promotes a fair and efficient electoral system.

However, CAFFE says the issue appears to go further than what has been revealed.

"It also appears that there are some issues relating to uncouth behaviour or discourtesy on the part of a member or members. This would not be improper political partisanship but poor manners," CAFFE noted.

"If such behaviour becomes intolerable or disruptive of the proper administration or to the effectiveness of the director or other personnel, any member who is responsible should not be retained on the Commission," it suggested.

CAFFE says the ECJ is one of the most successful public institutions to have been established in Jamaica and a model for similar agencies both regionally and internationally.

The elections watchdog says the ECJ has contributed significantly to the preservation of democracy by ensuring a fair electoral system and the public is therefore entitled to a clarification.