Jamaica Council of Churches amplifies call for Office of the Political Ombudsman to be reinstated as country braces for elections
As the political parties prepare for the local government election, one church group is amplifying the call for the Office of the Political Ombudsman (OPO) to be re-instituted.
Earlier this year, Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, told the country that the office would be wound up and its operations subsumed into the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.
However, the process has not been completed.
In a fresh wave of concern, the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) is calling for the reinforcement of the Political Ombudsman (Interim) Act to give greater focus to the monitoring of political conduct.
It wants greater power vested in the OPO, and the appointment of a suitably qualified official to fill the post.
JCC President, Reverend Kenneth Richards, argues that the EOJ is the operational arm of the country’s electoral system, while the OPO ensures transparency, probity, and decency in the conduct of political officials and their associates, in their pursuit of power.
Reverend Richards explains that these two functions, must be distinct, and to subsume them, may run the risk of reintroducing concerns and confrontations of a partisan nature, and detract from the neutral work of the electoral office.