THE EDITOR, Sir:
It is my belief that the issue of state financial support for candidates, through the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) or any other entity, would not only be wrong, but immoral.
In the implementation of such policy, it would be asking - no, compelling - every citizen to contribute to the election of a candidate, whether or not his/her affiliation is in line with one's political view.
I agree with Everald Warmington, supported by Daryl Vaz, that aspirants should fund or raise funds for their own political campaigns, otherwise they should keep out of the process.
A funding ceiling could be agreed and candidates be forced to declare their spending within that limit. This could be monitored by the ECJ. Why not give the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) added responsibilities?
The idea of centrally funding election campaigns is to avoid inequities in the availability of money and the disclosure of contributors which may or may not influence the decisions of those elected to become representatives of the people. The intent, though a plausible one, should not be imposed on Jamaican citizens.
Another suggestion could be that political parties raise funds to support their individual candidates. The amount to be spent should be a sum agreed by all parties concerned, monitored and audited by the ECJ and the OCG.
Parties failing to comply with the agreement should be deemed responsible, fined, and other forms of punishment exacted.