Jamaica’s two major political parties, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and the People’s National Party (PNP), have for far too long evaded the issue of campaign and party financing. This avoidance of disclosing the source of campaign funding has fuelled and strengthened the perception in the society that politics is dirty, self-serving and corrupt. The recent developments in the court proceedings in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) involving the head of a ponzi scheme has highlighted and exposed the dire urgency for both political parties and civil society to engage in dialogue with the primary purpose of addressing the issue by crafting the necessary legislation to deal with the matter.
The time has come for all law abiding and civic minded
Jamaicans to demand more from, and hold our politicians to a higher standard
than what currently exists. Transparency and accountability have always taken a
back burner in the Jamaican society, and we must ensure that in a new paradigm
of governance both transparency and accountability will be primary. The
confiscation order issued by the Supreme Court in Turks and Caicos Islands
reveals the clear and present threat that our democracy face should we allow
business to continue as usual. There is a common proverb in the society which
says, “He who pays the piper calls the tune” In order words if you are
financing an undertaking, you have the right to say how it will be carried out.
Financiers of political parties are not doing so out of the kindness of their
hearts. These financiers expect favours or they expect to influence specific
policies who may or may not be beneficial to the wider society should their
party of choice forms the government. This proverb aptly reinforces the urgent
need for us as a society to have full disclosure regarding contributions to
political parties. We need to know from our political parties who are those
contributing to the various political parties. We need to know the size of all
contribution. We need to know also the source of funds for each contributor to
political parties. These donors are contributing up to or in excess of US$5
Million/ J$450Million to election campaigns, far from peanut change you will
This turn of events have seriously tainted our
political institutions and our politicians and beckons us as a society to call
for men and women of integrity to serve Jamaica land we love.