NIA Calls on Director of Public Prosecutions to Prosecute Delinquent Candidates

Well, general elections took place on February 25, and political candidates were to have filed their information on how much they spent on their respective election campaigns not later than April 6, 2016. Now, 41 candidates have not met this deadline and are in breach of the law. How can our lawmakers be breaking their own laws, and what kind of example are they setting to the Jamaican public who elected them? National Integrity Action (NIA) has something to say about this. Here is their press release:

nia-2

April 13, 2016

NIA Calls on the ODPP to Prosecute Delinquent Candidates

National Integrity Action (NIA) notes that the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) has submitted the names of 41 candidates, who contested the February 25, 2016 General Election to the Director of Public Prosecutions for possible action. These 41 candidates are in breach of Section 101 of the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) by failing to file their returns on election spending by April 6, 2016. NIA acknowledges that this level of delinquency represents an improvement in comparison to the December 2011 General Election, in which more than half the candidates failed to file their returns in the specified time; and in relation to the 2007 General Election, in which 74 candidates were similarly delinquent.

Nevertheless, the continued violation of Jamaica’s electoral law with impunity by aspiring and successful candidates is an unacceptable smear on our country’s otherwise enviable electoral administration. Those who make the law should not break the law without consequences. Good governance, to which the current and previous administration have declared their commitment, demands that the rule of law be applied to all, without fear or favor.

Against this background, NIA calls:

  • For the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and other relevant law enforcement bodies to instate proceedings against the delinquent candidates in breach of Section 101 of the ROPA. Failure to prosecute in the past and in the present, shall encourage candidates to believe that they are above the law and hence may continue violations;
  • On the Government to amend the ROPA to strengthen the penalties for those convicted of breaching this Section of the law;
  • On the Minister responsible for Electoral Affairs to promptly name the appointed day/s on which the Amendments dealing with Political Party Registration and Campaign Finance Regulation, already assented to by the Governor General, shall come into effect.

Professor Trevor Munroe, C.D., D.Phil (Oxon)

Executive Director

Tel: (876) 383-2447

Board of Directors: Mr. Martin Henry (Chairman), Professor Trevor Munroe (ex officio), Professor Anthony Harriott, Ms. Eurica Douglas, Mr. Donald Roberts, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, Mr. Dennis Chung and Dr. K’adamawe K’nife.

 


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