Thursday, 16 April 2015

Write-In Candidates for Jamaica

A write-in candidate is one in an election whose name does not appear on the ballot but for whom voters may vote nonetheless by writing in the person's name on election day.

Some US States allow voters to paste a sticker with the name of a candidate they perceived should have been given the opportunity to contest the election. Write-in candidates rarely win, and votes are often cast for ineligible people or even fictional characters. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy are counted among those who have won by write-in votes.

Write-in candidates have also been elected in Sweden, Brazil and Ecuador among other countries.

In recent times, we have seen ‘in-fighting’ within Jamaican political parties as incumbents feel threaten by a challenge, especially if the incumbent was thrown into the constituency for the sake of winning a seat and/ fails to perform. We have seen the preference of the Jamaican people to be represented by ‘one of their own’, someone they trust and have a rapport with either through family and committed community advocate and leadership. The main political has largely ignored the plight of the people, and instead stimulate loyalist thinking – one size, fit all.

The People's Representative

Currently the political scuffle within the JLP between MP Gregory Mair and Sharon-Hay Webster, which sees establishment seat filler against constituency native and people’s likely preference. The initial statements suggest the fear of Mair ‘losing power’ – such thinking continues to hamper our governance and democratic development as the ability to perform and represent is linked with being “in power” which is also a constitution reform issue that should give greater role and muscle to government opposition and the people.

The Jamaican electoral system should consider if not actual law, but absorb the spirit of write-in and encourage independent candidates. As I believe that political representatives put forward as the people's representative of whichever political party should have years of hard work on the ground, should be familiar with the development plans and can understand the needs of the constituency better than any new-comer politician.

This could stir more participation within the democratic process – allowing people to suggest a preferred choice creates some level of trust and satisfaction.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Anti-Terrorism Gone Astray: Secret Resolution, Commitment, Denial and Proof(Maybe)

Secret Resolution (Sept. 24, 2014)

Almost three weeks had passed last year after the Jamaica had co-sponsored a United Nations resolution at the 69th session at the assembly in September to condemn the Islamic State(IS) militants and lead to the blocking of IS recruits from travelling to the battlefields and returning home to radicalize others. 
The Resolution 
was approved September 24, disclosure by Government October 10, 2014 - 12 days..
"So, why not at least a brief information-oriented statement for the benefit of the Jamaican people and their Caricom cousins as well?" (Jamaica Observer 05/10/14)

Was the question posed by bajan Rickey Singh in his analysis of the Jamaicans government's "public silence" on the resolution.

The Jamaica Observer article on 09/10/14 headline read: 

Jamaica co-sponsors ISIS resolution

Opposition blasts Government on non-disclosure of UN participation

In the article the opposition Jamaica Labour Party is quoted saying

"the Government must recognize that the nation’s foreign relations  is a public matter which must, at all times, reflect the views, hopes and aspirations of its people, and the decisions taken on behalf of the people must always be fully transparent."

Commitment (October, 10 2015)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sen.AJ Nicholson
The Government via foreign affairs Minister Senator AJ Nicholson made the claim in the Senate after some probing by the opposition that

 Jamaica supports efforts to continue to give priority attention to combating the spread of terrorism, including focusing on finding a multidimensional and comprehensive approach to the problem.  (Jamaica Gleaner 10/10/14)

and also 
 considering its position, Jamaica had to take into account the geopolitical context in which the resolution was being tabled. The minister said terrorism in all forms constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security.(Jamaica Gleaner 13/10/14)
During that same Senate sitting the minister was asked by Opposition Senator Robert Montague on what would be done if Jamaican was taken hostage by terrorist - the Minister replied "What you want us to do, send the JDF (Jamaica Defence Force)?"

Denial(March 15, 2014)

Min. National Security MP Peter Bunting
Thus far this year that support seems to be dodgy at the least, taking into consideration the posture of the administration after reports surfaced from US Military intelligence that Jamaicans maybe apart of IS recruits from the region -  the National Security Ministry was quick to dismiss and chastised the Commander of the US Southern Command General John Kelly for not following his script; 

National Security Minister Peter Bunting said the prepared text of the speech delivered by General Kelly did not name Jamaica and, as a result, the reported comment may be the result of a misunderstanding. (Jamaica Gleaner 15/04/15)

the US has however said no mistake was made  and  double downed on the statements  made by General Kelly

a spokesman for the US Southern Command in Florida, Jose Ruiz, tells Nationwide News that General Kelly did not make a mistake. (Nationwide News 17/04/15)

Proof(Maybe) (April 6,2015) - (April 12,2015)

It will be interesting to see how the Jamaican authorities treat this incident but also if this indeed a case of terrorist recruitment: how did this young man slipped through the mechanism that are/supposed to be in place according to resolution that

also urged members to intensify and accelerate the exchange of operational information regarding actions or movements of terrorists or terrorist networks through bilateral or multilateral mechanism

  • Wasn't the same "Intelligence Agency" garnered by Suriname available to Jamaica?
  • What does Jamaica have in place get, utilize and share the intelligence?
  • Why isn't there a single database of a "no fly" designation by the region?

and many other questions must be answered... as another Jamaicans ISIS was made some days  before 

  In any case we've seen the failure/weaknesses of nations in the Caribbean region to fully cooperate and integrate sharing of intelligence that is crucial in stopping terrorism and transnational crime.