THE House of Representatives on Tuesday accepted the report of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), paving the way for the introduction of legislation on political campaign financing on the basis that several points of disagreement raised by members would be resolved.
The report of the Commission tabled in Parliament earlier this year has recommendations falling under 10 headings, ranging from the sources of contribution and donations, impermissible donors, limits on contributions to candidates and political parties, limits on election expenditure of candidates and of political parties to disclosure by candidates and political parties.
Leader of Government Business in the House and the minister with responsibility for electoral matters, Phillip Paulwell, in opening the debate on the report last month, urged the House to uphold the convention which sees all recommendations of the ECJ being rubber-stamped. At that time, Government Member of Parliament Dr Peter Phillips emphasised that the contents of the report should be translated into legislation, going further than upholding the convention by accepting the recommendations of the ECJ. He, however, questioned some of the proposed provisions, including the suggested cap on donations to candidates per donor.
Despite accepting the report, several MPs raised issues with various aspects. South West St Catherine Member of Parliament Everald Warmington, who led the charge, accused the ECJ of being high-handed in the manner in which it made its recommendations, saying some were ‘orders’.