Ricardo Brooks reports.

Principal Director of the National Integrity Action, NIA, Professor Trevor Munroe is endorsing calls to strengthen the Office of the Political Ombudsman as a means of combating the buying and selling of votes in elections.

The integrity advocate made the call in reacting to the Office of Ombudsman’s report reviewing the September 2020 General Elections.

Professor Munroe wants to see the Office entrenched in the Constitution.

Professor Munroe says he endorses the Ombudsman’s recommendation to sensitize Jamaicans through civic education about the importance of their vote.

But he says further action is needed to better address the practice of the buying and selling of votes.

Professor Munroe says a key part of combating the practice of vote buying, is to strengthen the Office of the Ombudsman.

That’s why he wants to see it entrenched in Jamaica’s Constitution.

The integrity advocate says the current Parliament should follow through on steps taken by the administration of former Prime Minister Bruce Golding in the relation to the office.

The functions of the Contractor General’s office has since been transferred to the Integrity Commission.

Professor Munroe says he would not support a similar transfer of the Ombudsman’s functions to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.

The Office of the Political Ombudsman remains an Interim Act of Parliament. It was passed in 2002.