'Save Cockpit Country' petition back online, JET assures clean campaign

Friday, September 22, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has assured that it is running a clean campaign to secure votes for its “Save Cockpit Country” petition, following the offline status of its petition on the participation tab of Office of the Prime Minister's (OPM's) website yesterday.
It was reported that the petition, now at 12,447 signatures out of the 15,000 needed by September 30, was removed from the website about 3:30 pm.

In a release today, JET said this morning's statement by an OPM representative on radio implied that the site was taken offline because “automatic signing” had been detected. The representative also indicated that the signatures in question were going to be removed.

OPM yesterday tweeted that the petition page “has been compromised” and that the office was working to resolve the issues.

In response, JET assured that it has run a legitimate campaign and does not encourage hacking or automatic signing of the petition.
The environmental trust said it is not surprised by the increase in signage over the past few days because there has been an increase in marketing the petition in order to meet the deadline set by the OPM.

“We knew of several campaign efforts carried out on September 18 – Facebook advertising paid for by a supporter of the campaign, Whatsapp messaging and other social media posts from the website jamaicans.com. A 'Save Cockpit Country Day', set for today, was also announced through several media partners earlier this week, stated JET

JET also mentioned that there have been several problems with petition signings since the launch of the 'Save Cockpit Country' petition on the site, such as, persons needing an email address to sign. JET explained that many Jamaicans are online, with social media accounts, but have no email address as some accounts, such as Instagram, allow users to sign up with phone numbers.

JET also said it has received reports that confirmation emails from the OPM petition portal went to SPAM folders and persons did not get confirmation emails and that there were reports of the screen going blank when users clicked “sign now”.

JET also said there was lack of clarity as to what constituted a Jamaican citizen on the OPM petition portal site.

“JET does not agree that Jamaican residents or Jamaicans outside of Jamaica should be excluded from signing the petition using the OPM portal,” said the Trust.

It further explained that despite the problems with the site, campaign supporters have been informed that the OPM petition portal was a new mechanism and there were “bound to be teething pains”. JET urged people to exercise patience while continuing to try to add their names to the online petition.

Meanwhile, JET declared that it had no interest in an illegitimate process of getting the petition signed as this would only harm any effort of the Save Cockpit Country campaign.

“JET used the OPM petition portal — a new Government of Jamaica (GOJ) participatory mechanism, and the social media tools available to us to let the GOJ know that a large number of Jamaicans do not want mining in Cockpit Country.”

The OPM portal was brought back online about 9:00 am today.

JET is encouraging all Jamaicans to sign the petition today online here, or in hard copy at JET's office, 123 Constant Spring Road, Unit 5, Kingston 8.

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