Emulsion of agencies
The recent passing of the Bill to absorb the Office of the Political Ombudsman into the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is like an emulsion — the mixing of oil and water, liquids that cannot combine. Unfortunately, from my scientific explanation, it is clear that I am not in support of combining these offices.
Citizens, moreso parliamentarians, should understand that the ECJ’s core function is to conduct elections that are free and fair and far from any political affiliation. On the contrary, according to the Political Ombudsman (Interim) Act 2022, the core function of the political ombudsman is to investigate any action that is deemed inappropriate, whether by a complainant or from observation. In analysing the legislation of both agencies, there is a difference between them.
Now that they are combined, a report of misconduct from the ECJ can have one assuming that it is siding with one particular party and this will cause political chaos. Regionally, the Office of the Political Ombudsman is independent of the electoral office in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. It is for this reason that I believe that countries should keep them independent.
From my examination of both legislations, I believe that both agencies should have remained independent, not because of the possibility of any one of the agencies becoming stained with negativity but because of the merit that each office holds. The integrity of the ECJ is praised and recognised internationally and as such, it should remain that way.