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Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall today (November 29), presented instruments of appointment to the first eight members of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica at a ceremony held at King’s House.
The nominated members of the Electoral Commission are: the Minister of Information and Development, Donald Buchanan; Linton Walters, Karl Samuda and Tom Tavares- Finson. The selected members are Professor Errol Miller, Dr. Herbert Thompson, Dorothy Pine-McLarty and Justice Clarence Walker.
The term of office of the nominated Commissioners will be four years, while the selected Commissioners and the Director of Elections shall serve for seven years.
On November 8, the Electoral Commission (Interim) 2006 Act was passed to allow for the creation of an Electoral Commission of Jamaica. This Act repealed the 1979 Representation of the People Interim Electoral Act, and has allowed for the appointment of electoral commissioners.
“The new Act signals the deepening of our democratic traditions and through fair elections, their representatives to govern Jamaica. This suggests that Jamaica is maturing in its efforts to foster public confidence and participation in the democratic process,” the Governor-General said.
“The Electoral Commission is a commission of Parliament and it brings us on par with other Commonwealth countries that have established such independent authority,” he added.
In his address, Leader of the Opposition, Bruce Golding said the creation of the Electoral Commission represented a significant journey and milestone in Jamaica’s history.
“I urge the members of the electoral commission to do whatever is necessary to protect the political system, but be mindful that you cannot afford to protect it to death. There is a balance that has to be struck. They carry a great burden, and I have every confidence that they will carry it well,” Mr. Golding said.
Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips said the appointment of members of the Electoral Commission reflected the confidence of the Jamaican people in their integrity, in their level of competence, and their ability to serve the national interest.
“They will be called upon to perform their task, because when all is said and done, even though they have been nominated by the leaders of political parties, they will also be required to put the national interest at the forefront of their considerations as they carry out their duties,” Dr. Phillips said.
It was announced today by Burchell Whiteman, Senior Adviser at King’s House, that the new members of the Electoral Commission would meet and select the other member of the Commission.
“The Director of Elections, Mr. Danville Walker, while he will not be presented with the instrument of office this morning is, and will be a commissioner. His instrument of appointment will be presented after these commissioners have met and subsequently make a formal recommendation to the Governor General for the appointment of Mr. Walker to the Commission,” Mr. Whiteman said.