First Look

NIA welcomes ECJ Campaign Finance Recommendations



National Integrity Action Limited | 2013-09-11 00:00:00

“On behalf of NIA I welcome the tabling yesterday of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica’s report on campaign financing and call on the Parliament to debate and approve the recommendations as an urgent priority”, said Professor Munroe.

There should be no further delay on this issue as yesterday’s report is the second being tabled in Parliament on Campaign Finance, the first having been approved in April, 2012. The current recommendations are revised after consideration of MP’s comments in last year’s debate. We remind the public that the Electoral Commission of Jamaica includes representatives of both parties who would have approved, on their party’s behalf, these recommendations.

NIA is particularly pleased with the recommendations which, if and when rigorously enforced, would enhance integrity in Jamaica’s elections, make it more difficult for the corrupt to buy influence at the expense of the public interest through campaign financing and bring Jamaica more in line with modern democratic governance. These recommendations include:

• The banning of foreign governments, entities or companies from contributing to political parties or candidates, thereby reducing the likelihood of parties or candidates serving foreign and Jamaican interest;

• The public disclosure of donors to political parties in receipt of government contracts of over $500,000.00, 2 years prior or subsequent to an election;

• The prohibition of contribution from “illegal entities”;

• A measure of state funding reimbursement of candidate/party expenditure on condition that they are certified to be in compliance with the Representative of the People Act and the Political Code of Conduct;

• The filing of regular reports to the ECJ disclosing identities of donors and of expenditure;

• The public disclosure of donors who contribute over $1M to a candidate or party.

• The provision of power to the ECJ to monitor and enforce Campaign Finance Law, with appropriate penalties. In cooperation with the Office of the Contractor General, the Director of Public Prosecution, the National Contracts Commission etc.


NIA wishes to emphasize that these recommendations follow on 10 years of discussion amongst Jamaican authorities, on the widest consultation by the ECJ with civil society and political parties as well as debate and approval in both Houses of Parliament.

Hence, NIA calls on the Government, the Opposition and the Parliament to expeditiously approve these recommendations to amend the Representation of the People Act so as to strengthen transparency and accountability in Jamaica.

NIA also calls on the Jamaican people and their organizations to make their voices heard in support of this important measure to build integrity and combat corruption more effectively in our country.

We also look forward to the early tabling of the long pending Political Party Registration and Funding Bill.


 




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