JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2014, which provides for the registration, regulation and funding of political parties, was passed by the House of Representatives on October 14.
  • Passage of the Bill deals with the registration of political parties and the procedures for registering, refusal of and objection to applications for registration; and the proceedings for deregistration of registered political parties.
  • It further addresses the procedures for the application and qualification for state funding.

The Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2014, which provides for the registration, regulation and funding of political parties, was passed by the House of Representatives on October 14.

Passage of the Bill deals with the registration of political parties and the procedures for registering, refusal of and objection to applications for registration; and the proceedings for deregistration of registered political parties.

It further addresses the 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.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, and Leader of Government Business in the House, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, thanked the Members of Parliament for their participation in the debate.

As it relates to state funding for the political parties, Mr. Paulwell said “it will have to come here for a vote and so Parliament will effectively carry that out.”

For his part, Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, noted that the legislation was in the best interest of the public.

“It advances democracy, it makes our democracy stronger and more modern,” Mr. Holness said.

He added that the Bill does not impose on any political party an obligation to receive state funding.

“We agree that the political party must be brought under the regulations. The political party must be transparent, the political party must meet international standards of accountability and transparency and, therefore, we will comply, we will register. But I could not, with good conscience at this time, seek to benefit from or take public funds,” he said.

In his contribution, Member of Parliament for North East St. Elizabeth, Raymond Pryce, noted that the legislation continues the process of deepening Jamaica’s democracy, while ensuring that it remains vibrant and protected.

He added that like political parties, civil society organisations should also be regulated in the interest of democracy.

The Bill was passed with eight amendments, and will be sent to the Senate for its approval.