Tardy political parties!

News

Tardy political parties!

JLP, PNP late in declaring how much they spent on Portland Eastern by-election and source of funds

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


Jamaicans will have to wait a while longer to find out how much the two political parties reportedly spent on the April 4 by-election in Portland Eastern and what was the source of the money despite allegations of vote-buying and an orgy of spending in the contest.

More than two months after the deadline for the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) to declare how much they spent on the by-election, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is still awaiting full disclosure.

The JLP's Ann-Marie Vaz defeated the PNP's Damion Crawford in the contest and under Jamaica's Campaign Financing Legislation of 2016 the two candidates had until May 16, to file a declaration of their election expenditures and a declaration that, to the best of the their knowledge, no contribution from any impermissible contributor had been accepted during the campaign reporting period.

Both candidates met the deadline with Vaz reporting that she had zero expenditure in her run to victory and Crawford reporting that he spent $4.7 million during the campaign, which included $2.7 million in donations.

The two parties were given a deadline of October 1, to submit their Campaign Period Expenditure Report by October 1, 2019 and their Final Disclosure Report of Income and Election Expenditure.

But last Friday Director of Elections Glasspole Brown confirmed that the ECJ was still awaiting information on the income and expenditure from the two parties.

“The parties filed some information in October but we requested additional information from them and that is what we are waiting for,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer.

“They put in their disclosure report on time, because the law requires them to file their disclosure reports and that was done in October. There was some additional information that we wanted and further details to what they submitted.

“Once they do that we will do our investigations and then you will get a report from us,” added Brown.

Responding to questions about the delay in the full disclosure, general secretary of the JLP Dr Horace Chang told the Sunday Observer that he is finalising the compilation of the information and should submit the details to the ECJ shortly.

According to Dr Chang, he has one or two more persons to speak with.

On Friday PNP general secretary Julian Robinson told the Sunday Observer that he had finally completed the report and submitted it to the ECJ that morning.

According to Robinson, the new filing requirements are quite detailed and it took the PNP longer than expected to reconcile its income and expenditure statement.

Under the Jamaica's Campaign Financing Legislation of 2016 with related Regulations of 2017, every registered political party should submit the “Campaign Period Expenditure Report in the prescribed form and manner within a period of 180 days after the day of an election.”

The law further states the report should include a consolidated statement of all contributions received by the parties during the campaign period with an itemised list of the values of all contribution, in cash or kind, of a value exceeding $250,000.

The parties should have also have submitted a consolidated total income and expenditure statement by the October 1 deadline.

Under the law, if the parties fail to submit the report on time and in the manner prescribed, the authorised representative (usually the general secretary of treasurer) commits an offence and “shall be liable on summary conviction in a Resident Magistrate's Court (Parish Court) to a fine not exceeding $1 million”.

Dr Chang had already disclosed publicly that the JLP spent some $40 million in the by-election.

Responding to the cynicism which greeted the claim by Vaz that she spent nothing on the campaign, Dr Chang said that it was the party which did all the spending, not the candidate.

He said the official declaration will show expenses for advertisement, canvassing, polling of three-to-four million dollars, plus transportation and meetings.

Going into the by-election Robinson had alleged that the JLP had outspent the PNP by as much as 10 to one. There were also allegations of vote-buying and other financial irregularities surrounding the contest.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT