Bill to subsume Office of Political Ombudsman into ECJ passed in Parliament

The bill to subsume the Office of the Political Ombudsman into the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), was passed in the Lower House on Tuesday, but not before parliament descended into chaos.

Last week, the debate was put on hold, after opposition members raised objection to the bill brought by Justice Minster Delroy Chuck.

Today, Mr. Chuck returned with the same bill, intent on having it go through committee stage, and voted on.

He argued that the recommendation to have the ECJ take on the duties of the Ombudsman had already been agreed to by the opposition, citing a letter from Senator Peter Bunting.

But, Opposition Leader Mark Golding pointed out that what Senator Bunting agreed to was for the ECJ to take on a cost saving, administrative function, not to make the 9 member commission, the Ombudsman.

Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke interjected, pointing out that Mr. Golding’s position is wrong, because the recommendation was broader and not only about cost saving.

In response, Mr. Golding noted that there are alternative options for the Ombudsman Office, that the government has not considered.

He remained steadfast in the view, that what the government is seeking to do, is flawed, and that the opposition will not support bad policy.

Mr. Chuck then pointed out that the ECJ considered alternatives and the 9 member Commission Ombudsman, was thought to be the better option.


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