We all are aware of the current blood letting within the PNP and its campaign finance reform issue implications. It is alleged that certain candidates of the PNP took campaign contributions from businesses etc and did not turn them in, but kept them for themselves. I am sure that if any of these allegations are true, had the PNP won the election they would have swept them under the carpet.
I would also be surprised if similar shenanigans were not also ocurring on the JLP side.
The Private Sector in Jamaica contributed vast amounts to both political parties in Jamaica:
Whilst the Campaign Finance Reform legislation to the regulate the financing of elections in Jamaica is laudable, it does not address the root problem and probably wilfully so. Furthermore, in Jamaica as is usual, political parties once in power tend to kick the campaign finance reform ball down the road, until ‘after the next election’. If they lose they then make noise for it and if they win they give the ball another hearty kick. This happens in Jamaica, here in SKN and indeed throughout the Caribbean. But we had good teachers: Sanctimonious Tony Blair before an election pledged to do away with “ Peerages for Pounds”, and then refined the process to his advantage. And then there is Hillary with her friendly speeches for big money to the Big Money folk, but we have to hold our noses and hope she wins as the other option is unthinkable.
And I don’t know how it works, as businesses often contribute to opposing parties in the same election cycle, and both parties know. Take the case of the company Proven in Jamaica where they contributed 60% to the then ruling (what an ugly phrase, but it depicts the state of things) and 40% to the JLP. How does the JLP now that it won compute: if a matter arises, do they give 40% consideration to what Proven would wish and 60 % consideration to a company that bet on their horse more handsomely? And the figures are not small: Proven gave more than US 50,000 in total to the political parties, and there may well have been bigger private sector players.
Once there are Big Money Contributors to election Campaigns it becomes a self feeding frenzy:
Politicians ramp up the spending, much of it to outfits such as SCL (https://sclgroup.cc/elections/projects/st-kitts-nevis/ for our local reference). That it is self feeding is clear, as evidenced by:
http://celebritynetworths.org/jacob-zuma-net-worth/, but Jacob (without the ‘s’) would probably say that he made prudent investments.
The big contributors will usually find ways to beat any system put in place, so we need to find means of limiting the money that needs or indeed CAN to be spent on elections, and of having total transparency. Some offerings in our local context which I offer for your perusal are:
All Campaign related funding and spending to come through a central Electoral Office
No vouchers for purchase of items at local businesses
No more drowning the country in party paraphernalia; make issuance and receipt of hats, shirts and the like illegal !
Election Authority to put up a signboard at a central point in all villages, on which posters of the respective candidates are placed. Posters no where else.
Each party to be given an equal time slot for advertisements notices and speeches which would be issued and paid for by the Election Authority
I know I dream, as the self feeding nature of the process
demands more and more spending which feeds outfits like the SCL
makes big donors (and repaying them in various ways) necessary
puts money into the system to corrupt voters
allows skimming by the politicians, who happened to be caught out this time in Jamaica.
But if we keep on doing things the same way, the circus will continue: Genuine Election Reform will be kicked doown the road, and in each election cycle the victors will accuse the losers of corruption and will change nothing … and vice versa.
10 September, 2016
My Comments on Bichara Sahely’s post of 15 Aug 2015
And he has always avoided stepping into the gutter.
US Admission of Blame…but No Compensation:
…….lawsuit dismissed on grounds of governmental immunity.
Rockerfeller Foundation denies involvement:
A troubled woman & a dog are killed by Po-lice within 14 hours of each other, within 50 miles of each other: Mayor apologises for one, other scarcely noticed.
Not sure if fact that woman was a Native American with drug addiction problems contributed to her joining the many there who Die while Black or Brown………
It is a time honoured practice in these here Caribbean islands that those who have stood up & borne criticism, vilification and victimization whilst in opposition are rewarded for their bravery when their party wins by plum positions on various boards, and by getting contracts and other considerations.
We thank them, but Boards of themselves are throughout our region a means by which our ruling politicians repay favors and ensure compliance with stated and unstated wishes. I think that members of ALL Boards should be paid only $1 per meeting. Those of us who have attended Board meetings know that they are mostly rubber stampings, at which many members are often late or missing, and when present spend much of the time on their cell phones. Continue reading