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- Amnesty and the election
EXTRAORDINARY precautionary measures that were put in place
to prevent last October's General Election being overwhelmed
by political violence achieved the objective. That was the
general consensus of observer groups, media reviews and commentary
in the aftermath.
work of the Director of Elections, Danville Walker, and his
team, and of Bishop Herro Blair, in his double role of Political
Ombudsman and chairman of the Peace Management Initiative,
were monuments to the determined effort to achieve free and
is, therefore, passing strange that Amnesty International
has sought to besmirch the image of Jamaica with a report
which claims that "the election was accompanied by an
increase in politically motivated violence, with at least
60 people killed in the days leading to the election."
point of fact, Bishop Blair in writing to Amnesty, demanded
that their report be withdrawn because it was not based on
facts. He pointed out that the Statistical Department of the
Police Force had recorded only 12 political murders throughout
the island for the whole year 2002.
in response to Bishop Blair, Amnesty defends the report on
the ground that the claim of inaccuracy was "simply different
interpretations of a sentence!"
the record, be it noted that the Atlanta-based Carter Center,
which has observed the past two general elections, has said
that the October exercise was relatively peaceful, even while
conceding that there were areas of the process still in need
the local observer group, has also disagreed with Amnesty.
Chairman Dr. Lloyd Barnett told a press conference earlier
this week that "the general consensus was that it was
the best-run and least violent election in a long time."
are disturbed that such a prestigious organisation should
show contempt, not only for contrary opinion, but also for
only to protect its own credibility Amnesty should have the
grace to apologise and withdraw this patently inaccurate report
THE OPINIONS ON THIS PAGE, EXCEPT FOR THE ABOVE, DO NOT NECESSARILY
REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE GLEANER.