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State funding of political campaigns ideal but ...

Published:Thursday | December 12, 2013 | 9:16 AM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer



Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Phillip Paulwell says Jamaicans will need convincing in relation to a proposal for the State’s funding of political campaigns.




The Government Minister made the assertion at a civil society forum on campaign finance reform at the University of the West Indies last night.



In a controversial move, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica has proposed that the State funds political campaigns to safeguard against corruption and provide for equality in political opportunity.



Speaking at last night’s forum hosted by the Mona School of Business and Management, Paulwell said state funding of campaigns would be ideal.



However, he said changing public perception will present an enormous hurdle.



When the proposal was brought to Parliament in September, Opposition members, Everald Warmington and Daryl Vaz rejected it on grounds that taxpayers would be further burdened.



Warmington declared that the Parliament should not impose any more burdens on the poor and issued a warning that those who cannot afford to finance their campaigns should stay away from politics.



Meanwhile, at last night’s forum, Paulwell said the public will be invited to make submissions to a joint select committee of the House of Representatives regarding the campaign reform proposals.



He also said the legislation for State funding and political party registration will go before Parliament during the first quarter of next year.



Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding who was also present at the forum says it is hoped that the campaign reform measures will become law by June 2014. 



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