POLITICAL parties registered under the amended Representation of the People Act (ROPA), proposed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, are to receive annual state funding.
However, this funding cannot be more than 40 per cent of the party’s income during its previous financial year’s operations.
This was disclosed in a Bill seeking to amend ROPA to make provisions for the registration, regulation and funding of political parties, which was tabled in the House of Representatives by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Philip Paulwell.
It is based on a report from the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, which was tabled in the House in August 2013.
In the report, the ECJ recommended that all political parties intending to contest the poll in parliamentary elections, Parish Council and Kingston and St Andrew Corporation elections and municipal elections, should be registered.
Consequently the bill seeks to amend the ROPA to provide for, among other things, registration of political parties and procedures for registration; procedures for refusal of and objection to applications for registration; proceedings for the deregistration of registered political parties; procedure for application for state funding; obligations of registered political parties that qualify for state funding; use of state funding by political parties; financial reporting requirements for political parties.
It says that every registered political party — that meets the requirements and has its annual financial statements independently audited by a registered public accountant and submitted to the ECJ within certain days of the end of the financial year — shall be entitled in each financial year to receive as state funding sums of money to be determined by Parliament.
The Bill also stated that any amount approved by parliament for state funding will be divided equally among the political parties that qualify for state funding.
However, the Bill states that nothing within the Act shall preclude any political party from lawfully obtaining moneys or benefits from sources other than the state.
— Balford Henry