GEORGETOWN, Guyana, December 4, 2019 (CMC) – Opposition leader and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Bharrat Jagdeo, has promised to implement campaign finance reform in order to fight corruption — if his party is elected to office.
Jagdeo, a former President, said campaign finance reform will be necessary in order to prevent oil companies from subverting political parties by financing them to influence national policies in the resource sector.
He said the reason the party agreed that it would support campaign financing reform is because Guyana will become a major player in the natural resources sector, with oil and gas being discovered, and the PPP/C is fully aware that companies are capable of subverting political parties.
According to Jagdeo, the issue forms part of the party’s official manifesto 2020- 2025.
“We have to ensure that foreign money doesn’t play a role in influencing national policy, particularly in these sectors that are so crucial to the wellbeing of Guyanese, because you can possibly sell policies that can harm the whole country,” he told reporters last Friday.
Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. (TIGI) has long called for the urgent reformulation of campaign financing legislation, saying that it would not only curb corruption, but ensure that democracy reigns.
Jagdeo added that the PPP/C plans to take away the powers from the Finance Minister to issue duty-free concessions and other tax concessions.
“When you have politicians doing this, then you have a whole scope for corruption, so we will be returning to arm’s length processing of duty-free concessions, tax concessions, away from the politicians, which this government reversed,” he explained.
Jagdeo also revealed plans to criminalise the non-disclosure of receipts from oil companies to the government, which could result in the Minister of Finance being jailed.