The opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has made a commitment to implement campaign finance reform in order to fight corruption, if elected to office.
This revelation was made on Friday by the party’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo who said the issue forms part of the party’s official manifesto 2020- 2025.
Political financing laws usually provide mechanisms to facilitate transparency and accountability which allow citizens to detect instances of corrupt practices.
According to Mr. Jagdeo, campaign finance reform will be necessary in order to prevent oil companies from subverting political parties, along with financing them to influence national policies in the resource sector.
He said the reason the party agreed that it would support campaign financing reform is because Guyana will become a major player in the natural resources sector with oil and gas being discovered, and the PPP/C is fully aware that companies are capable of subverting political parties.
“We have to ensure that foreign money doesn’t play a role in influencing national policy, particularly in these sectors that are so crucial to the wellbeing of Guyanese because you can possibly sell policies that can harm the whole country,” he told the media for the soft launch.
Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI) has long called for the urgent reformulation of campaign financing legislation, saying that it will not only curb corruption but ensure that democracy reigns.
On the other hand, Jagdeo added that the PPP/C plans to take away the powers from the Finance Minister to issue duty-free concessions and other tax concessions.
“When you have politicians doing this, then you have a whole scope for corruption, so we will be returning to arm’s length processing of duty-free concessions, tax concessions away from the politicians which this government reversed,” he explained.
Jagdeo also revealed on Friday, plans to criminalise the non-disclosure of receipts from oil companies to the government, which could result in the Minister of Finance being jailed.
Mr. Jagdeo was Guyana’s longest serving President. He served for 12 and a half years of the 23 years that his party spent in government. Many of the reforms that he is now pushing were mostly ignored during his time in government.