first_imgIn 2011, the Carter Center recommended the implementation of campaign financing laws and even prior to that, the Alliance For Change (AFC) was pushing for the implementation of the laws; however, after three years in Government, the party and its coalition partner are yet to make a step in that direction.At a press conference to reflect its third election victory anniversary on Friday, party Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan made another promise to deliver the much-touted piece of legislation.AFC Leader Khemraj RamjattanHe noted that they have begun the campaign to draft the legislation referencing a recent visit by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s General Secretary, Akbar Khan, during which they requested assistance in doing so.“We have started that campaign and I know prior to her passing, Sheila Holder had done a lot of work on that aspect, all that work still remains and we support campaign finance legislation. As again, we have a number of other things and we have to present the legislation now and we have to get the more advanced one from the Commonwealth,” he said.“I have asked for a draft campaign finance legislation (from the Commonwealth). The CPA Secretary General Akbar Khan … met us and indicated where we can get these things, along with source materials for the Consolidated Fund and so on. So, we are going to tap into those resources to come up with a campaign legislation that is modern enough to take care of all the concerns,” Ramjattan added.He reiterated that the party would honour the legacy of Holder. While in Opposition, the AFC had moved a motion in Parliament to set up political financing legislation in 2011.In its final report on the 2011 General Election, the Carter Center said the need to create legislation to cater for campaign financing was important and even reiterated that in its 2015 report.“To ensure realisation of the right and opportunity to be elected, legal reform is necessary to improve campaign finance laws. Legislation should be strengthened to routinely require disclosure of contributions and expenditures. Consideration also should be given to establishing reasonable limits on donations and expenditures to ensure that the free choice of voters is not undermined or the democratic process distorted by disproportionate expenditures on behalf of any candidate or party. A monitoring and enforcement body with oversight authority of compliance with campaign finance regulations would also be a positive contribution to Guyanese politics,” the report stated.Additionally, the report stated that Guyana’s legal framework for elections was silent in the area of registration and operation of political parties; hence, the reason why legislation is needed to establish clear requirements for the registration and operation of political parties that would support the freedom of association and promote broad multi-ethnic parties that could represent citizen interests in governance.Now that the 2018 Local Government Elections are in sight, it is timely to highlight that the Carter Center had recommended in 2015 that the code of conduct for politicians be signed much earlier to include a clear and strong enforcement mechanism.According to the Transparency Institute of Guyana, political financing laws are about protecting the State from corporate and other interests, and ensuring that incumbents avoid corrupt use of State resources and ensure access to resources for all recognised political parties among other issues.last_img read more