House Suspends Debate on Campaign Financing

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, the Hon. Phillip Paulwell. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Debate on the revised recommendations on campaign financing submitted by the ECJ suspended
  • debate postponed until September 24
  • Illegal entities are prohibited from making donations

Debate on the revised recommendations on campaign financing submitted by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) was suspended in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 17.

Leader of Government Business in the House, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, who introduced the revised recommendations, agreed to postpone the debate until September 24, at the request of Leader of Opposition Business, Delroy Chuck.

The amended recommendations from the ECJ, which were tabled in Parliament on September 10, took into consideration, the comments and opinions of the members of the House of Representatives and Senate in debate in Parliament on April 2012, arising out of the ECJ’s report to Parliament in November 2011.

Minister Paulwell, in outlining the changes, noted that in the 2011 report, the ECJ recommended that private companies performing public duties through a government contract could not donate to a political candidate or party within one year of that contract, unless full disclosure of such donation was made to the ECJ.

“In the 2013 report, this has been changed. The ECJ has now revised its recommendations so that private companies that enter into a government contract where the value of that contract exceeds $500,000 and the donation is given within two years before or after such contract, are not permitted to donate to a political party or candidate unless full disclosure of the contract is made to the ECJ at the time of making the donation,” Mr. Paulwell said.

A further change in the 2013 report, under the category of “impermissible donors” is that illegal entities are prohibited from making donations.

The ECJ also recommended that a single donor should not be allowed to give a political party more than five per cent of the aggregate limit of the expenditure to which a political party is entitled during a campaign period.

“A political party’s entitlement will be computed on the basis of the number of seats being contested by that political party,” Mr. Paulwell explained.

Also, in its 2013 report, the ECJ has revised its recommendation regarding consolidated accounts.

The Minister noted that previously, the ECJ recommended that within six weeks of an election day, candidates will be required to submit consolidated reports detailing donations received during the campaign period.

“In its 2013 report, this recommendation has now been revised so that both candidates and political parties are required to submit separately such consolidated reports. These consolidated reports will now be required to detail not only the contributions that have been received, but also the expenditure incurred during the campaign period,” Mr. Paulwell stated.

 

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