'Wear gold on election day' Leave party colours at home - Walker
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
THE DIRECTOR of Elections, Danville Walker, is asking Jamaicans to put down their party colours on election day and wear the gold of the Reggae Boyz as a sign of national unity.
All election day workers will be wearing that colour, he said.
"We're asking that persons do not wear their party colours on election day," he said at a press briefing convened by the Public Relations Society of Jamaica last night at the Hilton, Kingston.
"Leave the party colours that have proven to be so divisive in our history, leave, them at home," he said. "What good reason could you want in this day and age, in this new millennium, to want to advance that? Let us all wear gold together."
"Colours can in some places incite persons to a type of behaviour that we all want to be rid of," he said. "We do not have the authority at the EAC to prevent anybody from wearing any particular colour on the day and so we want to lead by setting an example. All of our election day workers are going to be wearing gold on election day and it is our hope that the electorate turns out in those same colours."
According to Mr. Walker, the election workers' T-shirts, besides being gold, will have "A free and fair election, one man one vote, justice and true respect for all" on the rear and an advertising campaign encouraging the public to wear gold will follow shortly.
"This election has a lot of talk about colours and it is our belief, it is my belief, that if you wear you party colours on election day and your persons are turned out in their numbers, it can be intimidatory to people," he said.
According to Mr. Walker, the Political Ombudsman, Bishop Herro Blair, "shares the view" that colours can be intimidatory, citing the recent move to remove party flags from public places.
"We cannot force people not to wear their party colours, nor can we force them to wear gold," he said. "We are simply asking them."
Despite his fears about the potentially inflammatory nature of party colours on October 16, Mr. Walker insisted this will be the "smoothest" and "most peaceful" election, citing improved technology and better trained staff as reasons to expect a calm poll.
"Let us all come together and ostracise those who seek to use the tactics of intimidation to win an election," he said.