The Prime Minister made the comment this morning at the ceremony to launch the registration of political parties.
The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) has officially commenced the registration process marking a historic moment in Jamaica’s political landscape.
“With the requirement of the registration of the political parties; we have now ensured that there is a legislative underpinning that ensures objectivity and adherence to set standards and procedures without regards to who is in power,” declared Prime Minister Holness.
Political parties intending to contest elections and referenda in Jamaica must now be registered with the ECJ.
“I know that we can all say with one voice that a milestone has been achieved in the history of our democracy. We will now have a framework for the registration of political parties, while also facilitating a system whereby an accurate and up-to-date record can be kept on each political party” said Mr. Holness.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness has announced that election campaign financing regulations will come into effect on March 1, 2018.
He said this further highlights the government’s continued thrust to strengthen political processes not only in Jamaica but the wider Caribbean.
“These recent regulations again place us as a leader in the political institutional reform in the Caribbean. In essence, we are creating that rules-based environment to promote the three pillars – integrity, accountability and transparency”, said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister also noted that the country is charting a new path for Jamaica’s political future.
He said, political parties are in a powerful position to create a truly united approach to combat crime and violence; and to address a culture that is insensitive and accepting of violence.
In his comments Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips calledl for a legislative framework to enforce the political code of conduct, which is now administered by the Office of the Political Ombudsman.
Dr Phillips said the legislation could provide penalties and fines for those who breach the political code of conduct, and those who are in charge of organisations who are guilty of this.
“That would ensure that the conduct of elections and the behaviour of political parties are more frequently in keeping with the standards that we profess to set for ourselves; oftentimes in the political process people subscribe to standards but don't always observe these standards sufficiently,” he stated.
The Opposition leader also said additional resources should be given to the various agencies, including the Office of the Political Ombudsman and the ECJ, to bolster their efforts to appropriately enforce the rules of political conduct.
- Countries: Jamaica