Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Debate has started on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2014, which provides for the registration, regulation and funding of political parties.
  • The Bill seeks to make “new ground” on party registration and financing, while strengthening provisions that exist under the Act.
  • At present, there is no requirement for political parties in Jamaica to be registered or for their financial arrangements in their capacity as political parties to be regulated.

Debate has started on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2014, which provides for the registration, regulation and funding of political parties.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who opened the debate during Tuesday’s (September 30) sitting of the House of Representatives, said that the Bill seeks to make “new ground” on party registration and financing, while strengthening provisions that exist under the Act.

He noted that at present, there is no requirement for political parties in Jamaica to be registered or for their financial arrangements in their capacity as political parties to be regulated.  “Given the important role that political parties play in the life of our country, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is of the profound view that the situation occasioned by this oversight is no longer tenable,” he stated.

The amendments address: the registration of political parties and the procedures for registering, refusal of and objection to applications for registration; the proceeding for the deregistration of registered political parties; procedures for the application and qualification for state funding; obligations of registered political parties that qualify for state funding; the use of state funding by political parties; and financial reporting requirements.

“It is proposed that state funding for parties should not exceed 40 per cent of the total income of the political party in a single year, and the amount approved by Parliament shall be divided equally among the parties qualified to receive state funding,” Mr. Paulwell informed.

He added that there will be complete transparency in the allocation of funding to political parties as it will be part of the government’s annual budget process, and as such, will be a matter of public record.

He pointed out that the receipt of state funding is not a guarantee, as strict conditions have to be met, and in the absence of those conditions, the ECJ is being empowered to suspend such disbursements.

“I believe that this is going to take our democracy one step higher. It will enable greater accountability, and greater transparency in institutions that are critical to the continued development of our democracy as a young country,” Mr. Paulwell said.

For his part, Member of Parliament for East Hanover, Dr. D.K. Duncan, noted that the legislation provides for the deepening of the country’s democracy, participation, transparency and accountability.

The debate will continue at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.

Skip to content