Jagdeo says Government committed to campaign financing legislation, but fears financial backers could be targeted

Jagdeo says Government committed to campaign financing legislation, but fears financial backers could be targeted

With Guyana still not having campaign financing legislation in place more than two years after it was recommended by the EU Elections Observer Mission, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated that while the government and his People’s Progressive Party remain committed to having such legislation in place, he is concerned about financiers of his party being exposed.

“We are committed to ensuring that big money, especially oil resources, that they do not influence elections here in Guyana., and this is precisely why we put that in our manifesto. I don’t think any other party has done and that preceded the EU recommendations,” the Vice President said.

In its recommendations following the 2020 elections, the European Union observer team underscored the need for the electoral framework to be put in place to regulate campaign financing to allow transparency and accountability, as well as equality in the financing of political parties.

On Wednesday, the EU follow up mission stated that while the country has implemented two of the eight priority recommendations made by the EU Observer Mission, there has been no movement on the issue of campaign financing among other areas.

The EU Chief of Mission, Javier Nart warned that big money can influence the outcome of elections.

While agreeing with that position, the Vice President expressed concern that financial donors could be targeted if their names are placed on a public register.

“But we do share the view, the concern that big money could alter the results of elections. And that is why we committed to exploring campaign financing reform in this period and we put that in our manifesto but we also have another reality that once people names go on our register, and we raised this with EU, you know the behavior of APNU, from the moment a person says I’ve given $100 to the PPP…APNU will turn up in front of their business and say boycott the business,” he said.

 The EU Chief of Mission had also underscore the need for there to equity in campaign financing, but Mr. Jagdeo said major parties should not be limited by much smaller parties, who may be unable to secure large sums of finances.

“The other parties, the small parties couldn’t even muster, some of them to 2000 votes, how could you compare campaign finance with the major parties that have two hundred odd thousand supporters? It’s natural that they will run bigger campaigns. So not for that reason. Our job in as political parties is not to ensure that every single party has equal financing. You have to raise financing on the basis of your policymaking and whether people find you attractive or not,” the PPP/C General Secretary said.

The Vice President said the PPP Government remains committed to having campaign financing legislation in place, though not indicating a timeline for such legislation to be put in place.

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