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Carter Center Releases 2002 Jamaica Election Findings

The Carter Center announced its findings and recommendations on the October 2002 Jamaican elections in its final report released June 5 during a symposium held in Kingston.

The Carter Center observed the October 2002 elections and found that Jamaica made great strides in its electoral reforms and in reducing politically motivated violence. However, the Center also recommended more be done to insure that intimidation is eliminated from the electoral process and that the conflict prevention reforms are institutionalized to help transform the culture of violence into one of respect and tolerance.

In the Center's final report, it urges Jamaicans to empower their new electoral initiatives and positions, such as the Elections Centre and the political ombudsman. These initiatives, presently led or held by dynamic personalities who can assert their influence, need formalized procedures so that they continue to play an effective role in future elections. The Center report further encourages discussion related to other reforms, such as political party and campaign finance and reducing the "garrison phenomenon."

Sponsored by the Center and the government department of the University of West Indies's Mona campus, the symposium featured panelists Dr. Jennifer McCoy and Laura Neuman of the Center's Americas Program; Ron Gould, former assistant chief elections officer of Elections Canada; Dr. Amanda Sives, independent consultant; Danville Walker, director of elections of Jamaica's Election Advisory Committee; Dorothy Pine-McLarty, member of the Electoral Advisory Committee; Jamaican Political Ombudsman Bishop Harold Blair; Senator Trevor Munroe of the People's National Party; and Senator Bruce Golding of the Jamaican Labor Party.

The symposium addressed administration of the elections, electoral politics, and proposed campaign finance reform. Panelists answered questions from radio listeners during the final portion of the event.

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