Friday 10 July, 2020

JET blames teething pains for snag with Save Cockpit Country petition

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has given an assurance that it is running a clean campaign to secure votes for its ‘Save Cockpit Country’ petition, this following a snag with the petition on the participation tab of the Office of the Prime Minister's (OPM) website on Thursday.

The petition, which has secured over 12,000 signatures out of the 15,000 that are needed by September 30, was removed from the website at about 3:30 pm and brought back online at about 9:00 pm. 

In a release, JET said a statement by a representative of the OPM implied that the site was taken offline because “automatic signing” had been detected. The release said the OPM representative had also indicated that the signatures in question were going to be removed.

The OPM officially tweeted on Thursday that the petition page “has been compromised”, but indicated that the office was working to resolve the issues.

JET has insisted that it has run a legitimate campaign, and did not encourage any form of automatic signing of the petition.

The group said it is was not surprised by the increase in signage over the past few days, because there has been an increase in the promotion of the petition in an effort to meet the target before the deadline that was set by the OPM.

“We knew of several campaign efforts carried out on September 18 – Facebook advertising paid for by a supporter of the campaign, Whatsapp messaging and other social media posts from the website A 'Save Cockpit Country Day', set for today, was also announced through several media partners earlier this week,” said JET

JET also indicated that there have been several problems with the signing of the petition since it was launched on the website, such as with persons needing an email address to sign.

The group said while many Jamaicans are online with social media accounts, some do not have email addresses, as some accounts, such as Instagram, allow users to sign up with phone numbers.

JET also said it has received reports that confirmation emails from the OPM petition portal went to SPAM folders and, thus, some persons did not get confirmation emails in the normal sense, and there were reports of the screen going blank when users clicked ‘sign now’.

The trust also said there was a lack of clarity as to what constituted a Jamaican citizen on the OPM petition portal site.

 “JET does not agree that Jamaican residents or Jamaicans outside of Jamaica should be excluded from signing the petition using the OPM portal,” said the group.

Collectively, the group cited the issues as being part of the teething pains of using a new mechanism.

The group encouraged all Jamaicans to sign the petition online or in hard copy at JET's office at 123 Constant Spring Road, Unit 5, Kingston 8.

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