Urgent call for claims of political interference at ECJ to be addressed

Martin Henry


Public Commentator Martin Henry is pushing for the withdrawal of the two nominated People's National Party (PNP) members on the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) who have declared that there are serious issues within the Commission that need intervention.

The ECJ comprises three selected commissioners, the Director of  Elections and two nominated members each for the PNP and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

The controversy developed following the resignation of  Director of  Elections Orette Fisher, who alleged political interference. The ECJ issued a subsequent statement denying knowledge of such interference.

News came on Monday that the two PNP nominated members - Julian Robinson and Wensworth Skeffery - had distanced themselves from the statement. They have also alleged instances in which they have seen behaviour from a commissioner that they viewed as disrespectful, abusive and hostile to Mr. Fisher.   
Mr Henry, speaking Monday on RJR's Beyond the Headlines, declared that the ECJ's role is too important for this issue to be left alone.
In that regard, he said the two PNP members "should absolutely refuse to sit any further on the compromised Commisison," and that the Leader of the Opposition, who recommended their appointment, should also decline to have any replacement for them appointed until the concerns reaised are properly addressed.
"Let us bring it to a crisis; let us bring it to a Rubicon that we have to cross, and call it; and Prime Minister Andrew Holness will have to respond to the charge levelled against his appointment "if he intends to remain a credible Prime Minister," he declared.
Mr Henry asserted that the selected commissioners on the ECJ also have an important role to play in settling the controversy.
Additionaly, Henry, who is a member of the anti-corruption watchdog, National Integrity Action, served notice that certain civil society groups have taken a strong stance on the matter, and are prepared to go to great lengths to protect Jamaica's democracy.
"We may very well have to form a  circle, in white t-shirts, around the ECJ to protect it from political influence, which is now morphing into political interference," he declared.

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