Advertisement
JIS News

The Electoral Commission of Jamaica, is advanced in its review of the island’s electoral boundaries, and is now waiting on both Houses of Parliament to vote to amend the Constitution, to facilitate an increase in the number of constituencies.
Chairman of the ECJ, Professor Errol Miller, said that the way is now clear for the Senate and the House of Representatives to vote on the matter.
“Parliament can vote at any time it now chooses. We have done everything (we need to do). Whenever it is passed, we are prepared to go forward,” Professor Miller stated at a press conference held yesterday (Feb. 4) at the ECJ’s offices in New Kingston.
“All the preparatory work that we have done… would then put us in a position, come April, to deal with the increase in the number of constituencies, provided that the Constitutional amendment is passed. So we are well on target to complete the exercise,” he stated.
It is being proposed that the Constitution be amended to facilitate an increase in the number of constituencies from 60 to 65.
Opposition Commission member, Donald Buchanan, told journalists that while the amendment provides for an increase in the number of constituencies to 65, the immediate focus is to move the number up to 63. He advised that once Parliament has voted on the matter, the Commission will engage in “delineating the country into 63 constituencies.”
The review of the electoral divisions, now underway, entails the merging and splitting of polling divisions, the re-numbering of polling stations, and addressing anomalies.
The ECJ Chairman said that Geographical Information System (GIS) technology is being utilised in the exercise. “We are in the process of using GIS technology to digitise the maps, so that we will move away from manual descriptions, where items would have changed. We are about halfway through mapping all the boundaries in the different constituencies, in seven of the 14 parishes. We intend to do it for all 14, eventually,” he informed.
He revealed that the constituencies of North East St. Ann, and North East St. Andrew, were found to be in breach of the upper and lower Constitutional limits respectively. Constitutionally, the number of individuals per constituency should not exceed a high of ranging between 20,000 and 36,000 or fall below 16,000.
“We are in the process of conducting the exercise to resolve those breaches. Hopefully, by the end of March, we would have done that, so we are also on target with that,” he stated.