First Look

NIA warns about vote buying and selling



National Integrity Action Limited | 2015-11-12 00:00:00

The Daily Observer, Tuesday, November 10, 2015 carry the report as follows, in part: “Nyam dem out and vote dem out!” Holness accuses ruling PNP of doling out money for votes. In the body of the report it is stated that Opposition Leader Holness told supporters at a rally in Spanish Town, St. Catherine “tek the money! Tek the money! I say to the yute dem where dem a go try to buy unu out, a sey to you tek the money and ask for more”.

National Integrity Action wishes to remind all concerned that vote buying and vote selling:

• is in clear breach of the Representation of the Peoples Act (Sections 91 and 94) which when proven before the Resident Magistrates Court attracts a fine of $20,000 to $80,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than 3 no more than 5 years;
• is in clear violation of the Code of Political Conduct agreed to by both parties which states “candidates or others acting on behalf of candidates must not use funds derived from any source, public or private to improperly influence electoral choices”.

In this context we recall vote buying allegations made by the JLP against the PNP in relation to the Central Westmoreland by-election (December 2014) and the indication by the Director of Elections that “the Returning Officer for the constituency will today submit a report from the losing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate, Fae Jocabs-Reid”, against this background NIA:

• calls on the Leader of the Opposition to desist from encouraging voters to break the law;
• insist that the security forces put in place mechanisms to detect, investigate and bring before the Courts any case of vote buying or vote selling;
• request Director of Elections to release to the public the report alleging vote buying in the Central Westmoreland by-election
• urges that the Political Ombudsman whose statutory responsibility it is to oversee and investigate adherence to Jamaica’s Code of Political Conduct be urgently appointed.

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