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Campaign Finance Bill delayed for too long says NIA Director

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2015 | 9:01 AMTamara Bailey
Trevor Munroe

FOR YEARS, policies have been drafted to establish a regulatory system for financing political parties, however, there has been much stagnancy, and executive director of the National Integrity Action (NIA) Trevor Munroe, believes it may continue.

Addressing more than 450 persons at the NIA and Electoral Commission of Jamaica's (ECJ) town hall meeting on Wednesday, Munroe said the nation has been anticipating the tabling of

the campaign finance bill in Parliament. Minister with responsibility for electoral matters Phillip Paulwell announced

earlier this week that the long-awaited bill would be tabled in Parliament next week.

"We should be anxious because we are not the secret campaign financiers who should determine who gets elected," Munroe quipped.

speak out

The proposed legislation will, among other things, make it mandatory for political parties to disclose their sources of funding, but Munroe believes the process is taking too long.

"The far more important reason for this matter dragging out so long is this: You and I have to take some blame. We the public have not seen it important to speak out enough and to stand up for urgent campaign financing regulation. When we stand up together, we get results," he said.

Continuing, Munroe said: "I am not a doubting Thomas, but I am realistic. It was in 2013, two years ago, that I received a letter from Minister Paulwell in response to my correspondence, and that letter read in part: 'In respect of campaign financing, my office is in receipt of a submission from the ECJ containing its revised recommendation on campaign financing after the consideration and comments of the members of both houses of Parliament'. Paulwell's letter concluded: 'I have since instructed that the said submission be tabled and debated when Parliament resumes sitting in September 2013'.

According to the NIA head, there might be a good reason for that delay, "but it is now September 2015, and now we need to ensure that we support the minister in ensuring that the bill is tabled in October and then passed into law".