Where is the campaign finance bill?

Published: Wednesday | February 20, 2013 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The following is an open letter to Phillip Paulwell, minister of science, technology, energy & mining.

Dear Minister,

I AM herewith resending my letter to you dated January 15, 2013 in which I had asked you to indicate when "the public can expect a campaign finance bill to be before Parliament in the first quarter of the financial year beginning April 1, 2013".

This issue of campaign finance reform has become even more urgent in the context of the announced intention of the Government of Jamaica to "directly eliminate discretionary waivers' (address to the nation, Dr the Hon Peter Phillips, February 11, 2013) as one critical element in reducing the extent to which persons or entities which have funded political campaigns are able to get special treatment from ministers of finance. As you are aware, both the Government and the Opposition in Parliament in April 2012 adopted, with concerns, the report and recommendations of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica on Campaign Finance Reform - recommendations which included an element of disclosure in relation to campaign contributions.

In a context where the vast majority of the Jamaican people are facing impending tax increases and the consequences for the cost of living, the equity to which the administration has committed itself demands that loopholes that allow special privileged treatment for a minority be closed with alacrity. Hence, my request for an update on the administration's timelines on Campaign Finance Reform legislation and the progress thereto.

TREVOR MUNROE

Executive Director

National Integrity Action

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