By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R), Basil Williams says the opposition coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – will not standby idly and allow the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration to use state resources to campaign for any elections in the future.
Speaking to the media, Williams pledged to deal with the matter of campaign financing “firmly” in upcoming elections.
He was at the time responding to questions from the media about the Party Leader, David Granger’s position that he will support ‘Campaign Financing legislation’ but not in isolation; stating that the PPP/C continues to abuse state resources for its political campaigns during elections.
The APNU said it has raised concerns of unfair campaign financing because of the uneven playing field other political parties had to operate on.
“This question of when an election is afoot and the Party in power using Government resources to finance campaign funding is a sore question in this country; in the run-up to the 2001 elections they actually had an inter-party discussion on this very issue. Should they be able to use a plane to go into the interior to campaign, which is paid for by the government? Should a Minister be able to use a boat that is the Government’s boat?” he questioned.
Granger had said that since the 2011 elections campaign, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) never requested that they show the source of their campaign financing. He said for his Party to comply, the others would have to be on board as well.
In 2009, the OAS had announced that it had started work on comprehensive political party and campaign finance reform in the region towards instituting a key recommendation of its electoral observation missions.
Earlier this year, GECOM Chairman Dr. Steve Surujbally insisted that there should be limits to the amount of money spent during election campaigns by contesting Parties.
The GECOM Chairman expressed fears that if this is not done, Guyana could become a “Narco – State,” resultant from a government of drug kingpins.
He said the issue of campaign financing has been engaging his attention and that of the Commission for some time now.
“My file on this issue is very large,” he said while addressing a packed room at the Public Forum organized by the Georgetown Chamber of commerce and Industry (GCCI), at the Pegasus Hotel on June 10.