Fri 17th Sep 2010

PM Gonsalves must urgently pass legislation requiring political parties to disclose donations

The ULP regime should set an example and declare to the public where their funds have come from. It is important to establish transparency and integrity in party and election finance.

On Friday 3rd September 2010, PM Gonsalves addressed the nation on SVGBC television calling on the NDP to make a public disclosure of very large sums of money, allegedly received by the NDP as political donations for the SVG general election.

PM Gonsalves should stop the hypocrisy and urgently pass legislation, as in the UK, for public disclosure of donations to political parties in SVG over $5000. For example, in the UK, parties can only accept a donation or loan of more than £500 if the donor or lender is in the following categories:

  • an individual registered in a UK electoral register (including bequests);
  • a UK registered company which is incorporated within the EU and carries on business in the UK;
  • a Great Britain registered political party;
  • UK registered trade union;
  • a UK registered building society;
  • a UK registered limited liability partnership that carries on business in the UK;
  • a UK registered friendly society;
  • a UK based unincorporated association that carries on business or other activities in the UK.

This would clean up politics and prevent the very rich, like in Mustique, from installing a 'puppet' government of their choice, that allows unfair customs duties and tax exemptions. Otherwise, the poor and low-income families are forced to carry the financial burden of the state.

Taiwan is an example of a country propping up foreign governments. They have been in SVG for 29 years propping up government in order to exploit the people and resources of our country. They earn billions of dollars from our fish licence. They are an obstacle to the people's prosperity.

The public should know where donations come from and how they are spent, and that, those who do not follow the rules are dealt with appropriately and effectively. The information should be published on a public website. This is crucially important in a small island state to strengthen our democracy.

The problem with no disclosure of political donations, is that businesses and people can influence the outcome of elections for their own means. Governments installed by a person through donations are usually obliged to give 'favours' to the people who put them there.

Political donations can lead to commercially sponsored state dictatorship and corruption can become a daily routine for a government and lead effectively to a one party state. Some people do not vote because they think politicians are corrupt. Disclosure would encourage voting, promote good governance and facilitate good and fair use of SVG's resources.

Something must be amiss when politicians become millionaires overnight and start building 2 or 3 massive houses. Disclosure would dispel the electorate's concern of the under-the-table sponsorship. One wonders why politicians refuse to bring in disclosure legislation. What are they hiding? Are they corrupt? We must root out what is bad for our democracy.

How can the electorate trust this ULP government if they do not implement this important disclosure legislation before the next general election?

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