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Big campaign donors…and their even bigger influence

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Posted: Friday, February 5, 2021. 11:14 am CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

By Carlos Perdomo: It is time…let us talk campaign financing! Political campaigns are not cheap to organize and run, even if it is for a campaign in one constituency. Elections are expensive and costs money…mucho ‘dinero’, and the financial costs bloat up big-time for a nation-wide political campaign.

The necessity to raise funds to maintain a campaign means that political persons and mass parties need to request contributions. In democracies like Belize, it is standard to seek out persons who can assist…party loyalists, businesses, sympathizers and organizations…sometimes anyone willing to donate! In a few democratic countries that have strong “campaign financing” regulations, the state pays for a big chunk of the cost of political campaigns.

But the practices of raising funds are not as straight forward as we would imagine. Let Wikipedia help us to understand more (brackets and underlined words are mine to add emphasis). “Although the political science literature indicates that most contributors give to support parties or candidates with whom they are already in agreement, there is wide public perception that (BIGGER) donors expect government favors in return, such as specific legislation being enacted or defeated, so some have come to equate campaign financing with political corruption and bribery.”

It is because of the inescapable probability that the donors with bigger contributions in hundreds of thousands of dollars and above will corrupt or bribe officials in government, that nations have called for political campaign financing reform. In Belize, lots of promises have been made…but nothing YET!!

Wikipeadia continues: “The need to raise money to maintain expensive political campaigns diminishes (the voters’) ties to a representative democracy (think Area rep) because of the influence of large contributors over politicians”.

Does this happen in Belize? Why do you suppose these following issues…all linked to one big influential personality…were expedited and passed so quickly after the Nov elections?

  1. A) The Belize Bank purchase of Scotia (expedited).

 

  1. B) The Waterloo Project for Port of Belize expansion and for a Cruise Ship Terminal (environmental assessment process…expedited).

 

  1. C) United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of the Foreign Arbitral Awards Motion (passed).

Food for thought, no? …while we wait for another promised reform of “political campaign financing”!

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