JIS News

More volunteers are needed as observers for the upcoming general election on August 27, and Chairman of Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE), Dr. Lloyd Barnett is appealing for persons to come forward and serve.
“We want those who have worked before and those who have not worked [in this capacity] to come out and join us. We will welcome them and conduct the necessary training, so that they can be prepared come election day,” he told JIS News in an interview.
Prospective candidates should be 18 years and older and also willing to carry out the functions of observing that the electoral procedures are followed, and whether there is any breach of any rules or laws. “They will report to us so that we can bring it to the attention of the authorities,” Dr. Barnett said.
Meetings and training for volunteers are organized at various locations across the island and this information is usually published in the print media and is also available at constituency offices.
Although the target has fallen short of the desired 2,000 volunteers at present, which was attained for the general elections held in 1997 and 2002, Dr. Barnett said that CAFFE was busy recruiting persons on a daily basis. “We have good reason to believe that we will achieve this target or more this time,” he said.
However, the Chairman stressed that CAFFE would not be placing observers in all the polling stations. “There are 4,000 polling stations, so we will try to cover those in areas and clusters, so that most are not left without some amount of coverage,” he informed.
Explaining further, the Chairman said that where polling stations are in clusters of four or five, CAFFE would only assign two observers. “Although they are assigned to a particular polling station, they can generally get a feel of what is happening in those nearby,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr. Barnett implored all Jamaicans to exercise their right to vote as well as to conduct themselves in an orderly manner leading up to the general election.
“We do not want to have any more violence or misbehaving in regard to the conduct of the election campaign,” he emphasised.
CAFFE was formed in 1997 as a response to concerns about the integrity of the electoral processes. As a non-governmental organization, it receives funding from international agencies, in addition to corporate entities and private individuals.
Persons interested in serving as observers may contact the CAFFE office at 922-0008/9.

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