Monday, March 16, 2009

New Nomination Paper Needed

Given the handing down of the written judgement by the Court of Appeal , the pending by-election and the real possibility of a number of such by-elections due care should be taken to ensure that the costly mistakes are not repeated by feigned ignorance of the disqualification provisions contained in the Constitution of Jamaica.Accordingly, we take this opportunity to post a publication made in the Gleaner sometime ago:

New Nomination Paper needed for elections published: Tuesday May 6, 2008

The Editor, Sir:

Elections - general or a series of by-elections - are in the air. Political parties have begun a not-so-subtle propaganda campaign in the mass media. The issue of a person not being qualified to be nominated and the public awareness of the possible disqualifications have come to the fore via the ruling of McCalla, CJ, in the Dabdoub v Vaz et al.

The current Nomination Paper only focuses on the basic qualification in Section 39 of the Constitution of Jamaica without stating the requirement. This presumes that the nominating electors are either acquainted with the Section or walk with the Constitution when the form is being completed. Both presumptions are on very fluid grounds. There is nothing on the form in use to alert the nominating electors or the nominee to the specified disqualifications contained in Section 40.


Implementing measures


In an attempt to prevent a recurrence of "confusion in the minds" of the electorate, it may be wise to implement measures aimed at raising the awareness of prospective nominees, the persons nominating the candidate and the constituents.

One such measure could be an affirmation to be completed by the prospective candidate and witnessed by the returning officer. The form would contain a listing of all the conditions which would cause a candidate to be disqualified from being duly nominated [Section 40 (2) Constitution of Jamaica]. To wit:

  • A citizen of any other country except Jamaica

  • Under 21 years of age

  • Certified insane

  • Declared a bankrupt in a Commonwealth state and such bankruptcy has not been discharged

  • Serving a sentence exceeding six months or such sentence is suspended

  • Convicted of any offence connected with elections - local or general.
Certified copies of the duly executed nomination paper should be prominently displayed in a number of appropriate public spaces in the constituency, such as the local electoral office, polling stations, post office and any other locale where the list of registered electors in the constituency is made available.

False declarations would occasion a financial penalty being imposed upon conviction in a Resident Magistrate's Court and the subsequent prohibition from being a candidate in any election - general or local.


I am, etc.,


Dr PAUL ASHLEY
Attorney-at-Law

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion to Dr. Paul Ashley

How about posting the Jamaican constitution online. so that others including my self could see whats it is like.

Dr. Paul said...

The Jamaican constitution may be found at;
http://www.moj.gov.jm/law