JIS News

Government Senator, Thomas Tavares-Finson has informed that the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) will this month submit its annual report, as required by law, to Parliament.
“The report will cover the work of the Commission from its inception on December 1, 2006 to March 31, 2008. During this period the Commission was focused on the conduct of elections, hence the report would give a full and factual account of the General Parliamentary elections on September 3, 2007 and the Local Government Elections on December 5, 2007,” Senator Tavares Finson said.
He gave the assurance during his contribution to the 2008/09 State of the Nation Debate in the Senate yesterday (July 4).
Senator Tavares-Finson added that for the next six months the ECJ will seek to look at political party and campaign financing; the amendment of the Constitution to increase the upper limit of the number of constituencies into which Jamaica is divided and to increase the number of constituencies to 63; the entrenchment of the Electoral Commission in the Constitution and legal reform; document the work of the Electoral Advisory Committee and the ECJ and do a general review of boundaries.
“A period of general review of constituency boundaries commenced in March 2008 and will end in March 2010. The Commission has decided to use the May 31, 2008 voters list, as the voters list for the general review,” Senator Tavares Finson informed.
The general review will be done in three phases. The first phase will involve the description of poling divisions, addressing anomalies which entail the revisions of description of polling stations; merging and splitting of polling divisions and the re-numbering polling stations in each of the existing 60 constituencies.
The second phase will deal with the breaches in the limit prescribed by the Constitution for the number of electors in a constituency by realigning the boundaries.
“The number of electors in the constituency of St. Ann North East on the May 31 voters list exceeded the upper limit, while the number of electors in the St. Andrew North East seat is below the lower limit provided by the Constitution,” Senator Tavares-Finson explained.
He added that increasing the number of constituencies to 63 and making adjustment to the boundaries where applicable is the third phase and is conditional upon the amendment of the Constitution.
Meanwhile with the assistance from the International Federation of Electoral Systems, the ECJ has developed a draft report on political party and campaign financing.
“On each Thursday a number of town meetings will be held to sensitise communities and interested persons as to the contents of the report,” Senator Tavares-Finson said.
The first town meeting to promote a better understanding of the implications of party financing and legal reforms for a strong democratic system was held on Thursday, July 3 in Port Antonio, Portland.

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