Gov’t to disburse funds to EOJ for Nov 28 polls
MINISTER WITH Responsibility for Electoral Matters Derrick Smith has given the assurance that the Government will provide, within the stipulated time, the money needed by the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) to conduct the upcoming Local Government Elections set for November 28.
Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said on Thursday that his office was expecting to receive approximately $220 million of the $1.3 billion budgeted for the holding of the elections by Monday, November 17.
Smith told The Gleaner that the funds would be made available to the electoral body to facilitate the smooth running of the polls.
At the same time, the EOJ has intensified preparations for the elections, admitting that while the time frame given to complete preparations is “far less than ideal”, the EOJ is in a reasonable state of readiness.
In a media release, the electoral body said it has fast-tracked its operations to meet statutory requirements and deadlines in order to get its machinery ready for November 28.
Fisher noted that the EOJ’s resources would be stretched, but pledged that the organisation would ensure that a credible election is delivered.
“While the time frame we have been given to complete our preparation for the elections is very short, we are doing our best at the EOJ to ensure that we are ready. It will be very difficult, but we have already put measures in place to complete the significant amount of work to be done. Our goal is to ensure that the elections are free and fair,” he said.
Meanwhile, the EOJ said the electronic voter identification system will be used in seven constituencies. They are St Catherine Eastern, St Andrew West Central, St Andrew South Eastern, St Andrew Eastern, St Andrew Western, Kingston Central and Kingston East and Port Royal.
Members of the security forces and election day workers will vote on November 25, three days before the rest of the electorate.