Posted: Monday, July 13, 2020. 9:44 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Leader-elect of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Patrick Faber, intends to introduce campaign financing laws should he and the UDP be re-elected for a fourth term.
“I think that the campaign finance reform laws are necessary; and, should this United Democratic Party government get into a new term and we are hoping that we will, that will be key on the agenda,” Faber told reporters on Sunday.
With a few months still to go in their current term, Faber suggested that it was “too late” to introduce such reforms now, but added that any party who wins the election must consider it.
The question was asked in the context of whether a message had been sent by his victory in terms of campaign financing and where candidates get their monies to run for office.
The third candidate in Sunday’s race, Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, openly complained to reporters that politics was getting “too expensive” for Belizeans to participate in, much less established politicians like himself.
John Saldivar said the monies he obtained from financier-turned-convicted fraudster Lev Dermen through associate Jacob Kingston in February of 2014 were to finance political campaigns being held around that time. He has tentatively supported campaign finance legislation as well.
And the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) has proposed a simplified campaign finance law as part of its package of reforms to be negotiated with the current Government.
As for how long that Government has to run, Faber said it would reflect poorly on incumbent Prime Minister and UDP leader Dean Barrow in some quarters if he were to choose to go immediately.
The Prime Minister had previously set out a timeline for his departure from as far back as 2017, but senior party executives persuaded him to stay on.
“The COVID-19 situation is a bad one, he is the leader and the Prime Minister while it happened; what would you have to say about him if he ran away? And it is the same; we know it is going to be a daunting task moving forward; any new leader will have a very, very difficult task but we don’t run away from challenges in the UDP; we take those challenges head on,” Faber said.
That said, if it were possible for him to stay on even past the election, Faber said, he would, and Faber would be happy for him to, but he will go when it is time, and Faber will focus on getting the party machine ready.
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