Monday, June 28, 2004

Ja: Ombudsman got no muscle

Bishop Herro Blair, the political ombudsman, has ruled that he has no authority, under the law, to investigate Dr Dennis Minott's claim of vote-buying during the Jamaica Labour Party's election last November for the position of deputy leader.

That ruling, we expect, is specific neither to the JLP nor the contest relating to the party's Area Council 2, involving Mr James Robertson and Ms Olivia "Babsy" Grange. It applies also to the People's National Party (PNP) or any other party in which someone may have concerns over the probity of its electoral process.

We feel that it is unfortunate that Mr Blair aborted the investigation, whatever may have been the conclusion, and did not give a fuller, and broader interpretation of the law, notwithstanding the opinion of the legal advisors. He should have caused those with concerns to test the matter in the courts.

Nonetheless, Bishop Blair has ruled. What is clear is that a flaw has been shown in an important piece of legislation.


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