The conduct of the general election last Thursday has earned the approval of the Organisation of American States (OAS), even as two other observer groups, including the Caricom Observer Mission, rated the poll among the best the island has experienced. According to the OAS, the way the polls were held was testament to the “maturity” of Jamaica’s democracy, giving them a passing grade.
The third organisation to give the process the ‘thumbs up’ is the local Citizens’ Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE), whose only criticisms were that the slow casting of ballots where the Electronic Voter Identification and Ballot Issuing System (EVIBIS) was in use and that some polling stations were inaccessible to the elderly and the disabled. Despite the low voter turnout, CAFFE director Dr Lloyd Barnett rated Thursday’s proceedings “fairly highly”.
“…In relation to the actual conduct, the absence of open voting, the absence of intimidation, the observance of the rules – I think this must be rated as probably one of the best, if not the best [election],” Barnett told the Sunday Observer on Friday.
Barnett, who is one of Jamaica’s premier constitutional attorneys, also lauded the level of peace that accompanied the polls and said that the political parties should be congratulated for this.
During a press conference at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston on Friday, the OAS election observer mission and the Caricom team also praised the way in which the election was conducted.
“…I think it is a testament to the maturity of the democracy that the events of [Thursday] were carried out, for the most part, in a calm atmosphere, and that the transition of power has been orderly and calm,” said Ambassador Lisa Shoman, chief of the OAS observer mission.
“What I can say to you now, even at this preliminary stage, we do see progress and we are going to be benchmarking that progress as we go along,” added Shoman, who led a group of 28 observers from 16 countries across the Americas.
Full Article: OAS gives election a thumbs up – News – JamaicaObserver.com.