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Jul 21, 2016

Campaign Financing, Is it Time to Enact Much Needed Legislation?

John Briceño

William Mason wined, dined and made monetary contributions to U.D.P. ministers. The name of the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, is popping up everywhere in the saga involving Mason; he is on record for receiving up to fifty thousand dollars for the Belmopan Bandits. Frank “Papa” Mena has admitted that he got ten thousand dollars for the 2015 bye-election campaign from murder suspect Mason, bringing to the front burner the issue of campaign financing.  As it stands, there are no laws to regulate the bankrolling of candidates and their political activities.  Despite the disclosure by Minister Mena that he received the contribution and that he is prepared to set up escrow account, there are a number of questions regarding the source of those monies.  From the P.U.P.’s perspective, Party Leader John Briceño told the media on Wednesday that it is time for legislation to be enacted to control campaign financing.

 

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“Certainly on the issue of political financing legislation, I think it is high time for us to be looking at that seriously and to find ways how we can manage and control the issue of money to be able to win elections and it may also require Jules, that TV stations during election time might have to give free time to the political parties as example.  I mean I have a radio station and a television station so it’s not only for you, you know, but it’s for all of us and other ideas as to political parties disclosing the financing that they get.  Thirdly, the issue of controlling the campaign period and for instance in countries, I know like Canada for instance, they cannot have a political campaign for more than one month and I think in the UK it is the same.  So we have to look at areas where it has worked.  We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so it is time for us to do that.  As to disclosure, that is something that we are all working on and I am prepared to take that to my executive and for us to present our financials to the public since we can’t do it through the Integrity Commission.”

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