JIS News

Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC) Chairman, Professor Errol Miller, has urged the Senate to move quickly to pass the Interim Electoral Reform Act, which was crucial for the establishment of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.
“We don’t understand any delay in dealing with the matter,” he said, at a press conference held yesterday (Oct. 18), at the EAC’s head office on Old Hope Road.He informed that the Bill, which has already been passed in the House of Representatives, was referred to the Upper House last month and expressed concern about the delay in dealing with the matter. He urged that the legislation be dealt with at Friday’s (Oct. 20) sitting of the Senate.
“We see no reason for it to be postponed and not dealt with, Mr. Miller said, “and therefore we are saying; take it this week.”
The Representation of the People (Interim Electoral Reform) Act was passed in 1979, with a view to establish the Commission, which would, among other things, deal with election expenditure of political parties.
Meanwhile, Mr. Miller said that the proposals on campaign financing, which emerged from an EAC-organised conference in July, would be “fleshed out” with a final submission made to the Senate within three months.
Among the suggestions, he said, was that Sections 53 to 61 of the Representation of the People Act dealing with campaign financing be amended as there were far too many loopholes. “We agreed that we should increase the limits because much of what was put down in terms of limits were now out of date in today’s world,” he said.
It was also agreed that fines be imposed for illegal practices; provisions be improved for disclosure and transparency; forms used to report campaign financing be revised; and the expenditure of affiliate political organisations be reported.
Other recommendations, he said, were that parties should issue audited financial accounts to the Electoral Commission; have annual elections of officers; disclose their method of conflict resolution; that affirmative regulation should be provided for the disclosure of the total amounts contributed from private sources; registered political parties would be eligible to receive public funding to a maximum amount; parties would have a limit to the maximum expenditure on elections; and that sanctions would be established for violation of those agreements.
According to Mr. Miller, the political parties have affirmed by way of written responses that the representatives, who attended the July conference, were in agreement with the proposals.