A professor, a bishop and two Delanos

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN

Monday, December 12, 2011



 

This Jamaica takes us through so many highs and lows! We have been enjoying a great deal of sober public discourse on all sides about the December 29 general election. But then, we see these disturbing clips of gunmen engaging the police in a shootout on the grounds of St Jago High School in Spanish Town. (Thankfully, the students were unharmed.) The news also carries the usual political platform drama, with KD warning Dwight, Andrew apologising to media, and Portia wagging her finger at Andrew.

We saw an excellent group of Jamaicans on TVJ's Impact last Thursday, signalling that Jamaica's electoral system was in very good shape. The probing Emily Crooks hosted Professor Errol Miller, chairman of the Electoral Commission; Bishop Herro Blair, political ombudsman; and clean-cut campaign spokespersons Delano Franklin and Delano Seiveright for the PNP and JLP respectively.

We learned a lot. Prof Miller made three important points:

*If you are not on the voters' list published on November 30, you simply cannot vote. He said that voters may check for their names at post offices or on the web - www.ecj.com.jm. You should vote at your location on the list, even if you have changed the address of your residence since being enumerated.

* Agreement on the location of polling stations was reached after dialogue with both political parties and much planning. He emphasised that there can be no change of these locations.

* The ballot in Jamaica is absolutely secret. If you expose your "X", the ballot will be taken away from you. The presiding officer may not look at your choice and may not ask for whom you voted. The ballot is folded in such a way that even when the numbered counterfoil is being removed, the section with your mark remains folded and unexposed. Once the counterfoil is removed, and the ballot placed in the box, there is absolutely no way that it can be traced back to the voter.

Prof Miller also mentioned a criticism of a party representative that four candidates with dual citizenship had been accepted for nomination for the last general election by the respective returning officers. Prof Miller made it clear that the Electoral Office has no jurisdiction over such matters. Today, nomination day, we should bear in mind that the returning officer must accept the nomination of the candidate once the person satisfies three requirements:

(1) The prospective candidate has the endorsement of 10 registered voters

(2) The individual makes his/her application at the designated location between 10 am and 2 pm

(3) The individual pays a nomination fee of $3,000.

Congrats to the Women's Political Caucus of Jamaica supported by the Rose Leon Memorial Trust - they will pay nomination fees for all women candidates, irrespective of their political affiliation. For this election, there are 18 such candidates - five from the PNP led by Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller and 13 from the JLP - the highest ever in Jamaica's history.

Bishop Herro Blair disclosed that he had been kept extremely busy. "It is the first time since 2002 that I have had so many calls and complaints," he said. He explained that if his office decides to pursue a complaint, it is heard by a tribunal comprising the general secretaries of both political parties. Some of the matters they have dealt with for this election include the defacement of the Danville Walker billboard in Central Manchester.

The political ombudsman says there are 20 investigators attached to his office, all of whom are sergeants with the JCF. He says it is incumbent on the political parties to field candidates who are "people beyond doubt". He is asking the parties to quell "unacceptable behaviour" and reminding them that it is illegal to hoist green and orange flags to mark areas that are purported to be JLP or PNP. "There are provisions under the NSWMA Act against affixing anything in a public place, as this is contributing to the defacement of the environment," he noted. "This includes light posts."

Of course, both Delanos declared victory for their respective parties. "The JLP is on the verge of a possible landslide," opined Seiveright. "The people want something different, we are about Jamaica, about moving our country forward."

Franklin predicted that his party "will take 32 and more" and that they are campaigning aggressively because "Jamaicans want something new and different". Pundits are looking at a worldwide tendency to vote out incumbents in two ways: it could be a win for the PNP or it could be that the recently appointed JLP leader is seen as a fresh face in politics.

Do politicians know the power of our seniors?

I had the pleasure of speaking with two groups of bright and engaged pensioners last week - from the Bureau of Standards and from the Bank of Jamaica. I wonder if our politicians are seeing the gathering power of our seniors, who now make up the fastest-growing segment of the population. It has been proved worldwide that these folks take their democratic rights seriously and are the most active participants in the process. Our campaigners would do well to test their messages on our God-fearing seniors (The PM's story of his great-grandmother's ministrations went over well.) They will pack far more punch in the coming elections than some believe.

Richie Stephens' new anthem of self-actualisation

At a recent event held by First Global Bank (well organised by Keith Brown), we were moved by the emotional rendition by veteran composer-singer Richie Stephens, of his latest hit Live Your Life. Stephens, mourning the tragic death of his son, was in Germany as a guest of German reggae artiste, Gentleman, when he penned the song and recorded it with his faithful friend.

"When I was at my lowest it was the strength of the Most High and the healing power of our music that helped me to move on," he said. Stephens performed before an audience of over 750,000 in Poland at the invitation of Gentleman. Next year, we can look forward to hearing them together at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival as Gentleman will be Stephens' special guest.

lowriechin@aim.com

www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com


OTHER STORIES
PNP condemns billboard destroyers
THE People’s National Party (PNP) today condemned what it described as deliberate campaign activity of the Jamaica Labour Party in St James to deface billboards belonging to the party. In a m ... more
Campaign finance reform in the first 100 days
EXECUTIVE director of new watchdog group National Integrity Action Limited (NIAL), Professor Trevor Munroe wants the two major political parties to commit to the passage of campaign finance reform le ... more
JLP claims Hanover
LUCEA, Hanover — Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader and prime minister Andrew Holness took his party's election campaign to the parish of Hanover on Friday, where he told constituents that the ... more
Battle for Central Manchester heats up
NOT three weeks after formally announcing his candidacy as the JLP's man in Central Manchester, Danville Walker is said to be making serious inroads into the constituency which has been held by the ... more
G2K dubs Holness a 21st 'century leader'
GENERATION 2000 (G2K) the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has applauded Prime Minister Andrew Holness for what it described as a 'first rate' performance in the leader ... more
Mr Holness's preoccupation with damage control
THE week between the announcement of a general election and Nomination Day should normally be a good one for a prime minister with the constitutional prerogative to make the call. After all, he/she ... more
JLP’s Dalrymple-Philibert exudes confidence in South Trelawny
MARISSA Dalrymple-Philibert, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate in the South Trelawny constituency, is upbeat over her prospects of defeating her People’s National Party (PNP) rival Lynd ... more
Laurie Broderick confident of toppling Dalley
JAMAICA Labour Party representative for North Clarendon, Laurie Broderick, said he is optimistic about his chances as candidate for the constituency. A jovial Broderick, who was greeting supporters ... more
SE St Elizabeth victor lashes ‘flawed’ opinion polls
SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — HE is basking in his victory but the People's National Party's candidate for South East St Elizabeth Richard Parchment is also angry at what he describes as "flawed" ... more
Holness firm on free tuition, health care
JUNCTION, St Elizabeth — Prime Minister Andrew Holness Friday night stood by his party's policies of free tuition in public schools and free health care in the public health sector, suggesti ... more

POST A COMMENT


You must first register and then login to be able to post a comment.

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, and before commenting you need to register, conveniently, by clicking the link above.



Comment (required):

You have characters left.
captcha 7c12e4f6d4f545f8a6c8bc38c153c230
Enter text seen above:

For information about privacy please read our Privacy Policy.

I have read and accepted the Terms and Conditions


COMMENTS (4)

Ruby Shim
12/12/2011 - 8:24 PM
The political tribalists can only see one way. I was listening to my favourite station LOVE FM last week when I heard Mrs Lowrie-Chin in discussion with two candidates from both sides and she was heaping praises on some of the new candidates including Damion Crawford.
Ruby Shim
12/12/2011 - 2:59 PM
Political tribalists can only see one perspective as noted in the comments before. I happened to be listening to LOVE FM last week, which is the station I usually tune into when I get tired of the politics and heard Mrs Lowrie-Chin discussing the election with candidates of both political parties. I was about to change the dial but decided to listen in when I heard Mrs Lowrie-Chin praising candidates of both sides, including Damion Crawford.
0o k
12/12/2011 - 10:15 AM
Clean cut?
If they weren't would this be a problem?
wanda woeman
12/12/2011 - 8:28 AM
So how come you heard A.H apologizing to media, but you didn't hear him cussing them out and putting so many of their practitioners at risk? You saw Portia wagging fingers at him, but you didn't hear him telling lies on the platform?
After writing a few columns our biases shine through like a beacon for all to see and we can't plead objectivity anymore.
And what is this about "clean-cut?" Hope it was figurative and not in contrast to young Crawford. After all we did hear that he should cut his locks to be more acceptable to some.