The Office of the Political Ombudsman is issuing the findings of its 2020 General Election Campaign Review Report a first in Jamaica’s history. This follows what can be considered the most unusual and difficult campaign period in the country’s recent past given the advent of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the first time implementation of the Campaign Finance Legislation.
The report will be launched during a virtual event on June 2, that will include recommendations for improvements to Jamaica’s election campaign activities, particularly those related to the Office of the Political Ombudsman (OPO). The virtual event can be viewed on the O.P.O.’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/JAPoliticalOmbudsman/.
The campaign review report follows a review of the campaign through interviews with experts and other stakeholders conducted by the Office of the Political Ombudsman between October and November, after the September 3, 2020 General Elections. Findings, lessons learnt and recommendations for action emerged from the robust discussions and were used to compile the findings and recommendations found in the report.
“The recommendations cover a range of issues including the question of how election rules should be enforced, how sanctions/penalties should be applied, and the enforcement role of the Office of the Political Ombudsman,” said Political Ombudsman Hon. Donna Parchment Brown.
The Political Ombudsman said the report also addresses questions about the role of the Office over the coming years including funding and legislative support. “It discusses how we can cement the gains made since the OPO was established to monitor campaign activities which have in the past been subject to political violence,” she explained.
The 2020 general election campaign was held in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic limiting face-to-face gatherings and that forced other changes to the general election campaign. Mrs. Parchment Brown said those issues are also addressed in the report given their historic impact on election campaign activities.
The opening speaker at the virtual event is the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Right Honourable Baroness Patricia Scotland who is the first woman to hold the post. The Commonwealth Secretary-General is responsible for promoting and protecting the Commonwealth’s values, representing the Commonwealth publicly as well as the management of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
About the Office of the Political Ombudsman:
The Office of Political Ombudsman is a Commission of Parliament established in 2002 to investigate any action taken by a political party, its members or supporters which constitutes, is likely to constitute a breach of the Agreement and Declaration on Political Conduct in force among political parties in Jamaica or could prejudice good relations between supporters of various political parties. The code is intended to promote a political culture which emphases the propriety, correctness, transparency and honesty of political parties, their officials and adherents behaviour.
Link to audio bites of the Political Ombudsman: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1eDZsNVd8Lz6Nznw-RlkIswPBlvTy-GH7?usp=sharing
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