The Approach to continued electoral reform
Having conducted the General Elections of October 2002 and the Local Government Elections of June 2003 by implementing reforms that had been agreed by the previous Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC) as well as additional reforms of its own, the EAC reflected on the overall approach, process, and experience. The EAC came to the following conclusions:
- While it had been largely successful in implementing electoral reforms which had advanced the electoral system and democracy in the country, and while this accomplishment had won widespread acclaim, 21 months prior to a General Election is not the most appropriate time to get agreement and implement electoral reforms. While the crisis climate that existed in the country had galvanized support for change, the continued advance of the electoral system could not be sustained on a crisis basis.
- The continued reform and improvement had to be undertaken in a systematic manner and on a long-term, and incremental, basis as implemented reforms are consolidated and as new initiatives agreed, planned and implemented.
- The most opportune time to seek agreement for new initiatives to continue to reform the electoral system is immediately following the last cycle of General and Local Government Elections.
- Agreements reached would constitute the Electoral Reform Agenda to be implemented before the next cycle of General and Local Government Elections.
- Agreement on an Electoral Reform Agenda, before the next cycle of elections, is best achieved through broad based consultation, participation and engagement with political parties, non-governmental organizations involved with electoral matters, the wider public and the press.
The EAC decided that it would embark on this systematic, long-term and interactive approach to electoral reform by holding a three-day Retreat at Strawberry Hill Hotel: November 19 to 21, 2003. The Agenda for that retreat is included below.
EAC RETREAT NOVEMBER 19 – 21, 2003
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 19
9.00 – 9.15 OPENING DEVOTION
- – 10.45 DR THE HON. LLOYD BARNETT, CHAIRMAN CAFFEE
10.45 – 11.00 BREAK
11.00 – 1.00 RIGHT HON. P. J. PATTERSON, PRIME MINISTER
- -2.00 LUNCH
2.00 – 4.00 RIGHT HON. EDWARD P. G. SEAGA, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
4.00 – 4.15 BREAK
4.15 – 5.00 PLENARY SESSION: REVIEWING THE PRESENTATIONS
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20
8.30 – 10.00 THE ELECTORAL AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION: MRS D. PINE-MCLARTY
10.00 – 10.15 BREAK
10.15 – 11.45 IMPLEMENTING PHASE 11: DR HERBERT THOMPSON
11.45 – 1.00 RESIDENCE RE-VERIFICATION: TIMING AND COST: MR DANVILLE WALKER
- – 2.00 LUNCH
2.00 – 3.00 INCREASING THE NUMBER OF CONSTITUENCIES TO AN ODD NUMBER: PARTY PERSPECTIVES. MR RYAN PERALTO AND SENATOR BURCHELL WHITEMAN
3.00- 4.30 LEGAL REFORM: THE ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED AND THE TIMETABLE FOR IMPLEMENTATION. MRS D. PINE-MCLARTY
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 21
8.30 – 9.30 OVERSEAS VOTING: PARTY PERSPECTIVES. MR RYAN PERALTO AND SENATOR BURCHELL WHITEMAN
9.30 – 10.30 CAMPAIGN FINANCING: PROF ERROL MILLER
10.30 – 10.45 BREAK
10.45 – 1.00 PLENARY SESSION: THE EAC AGENDA OF ACTION
- – 2.00 LUNCH
2.00 – 3.30 PRESENTATION OF AGENDA TO SENATOR ANTHONY JOHNSON AND DR. THE HON PETER PHILLIPS AND DISCUSSION
3.00 – .4.00 CLOSING OF THE RETREAT