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Prime Minister on Chamber’s campaign finance proposal: “Will it work?”

Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2023. 10:09 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister John Briceño wants to know one thing about the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI)’s proposal to implement campaign finance regulation within the existing Representation of the People Act: will it work?

During an interview on Wednesday, he gave a tentative thumbs-up to such a plan: “We are prepared to look at anything that can work, at the end of the day. The Chamber… many of them like to pontificate but they don’t like to walk the walk. I am prepared to take a look at what they have and if it is something that is applicable we are prepared to do so.”

Deputy Cordel Hyde will be tasked to speak to the Chamber; last week, he told reporters that the Government had been working on its own proposals but would take a look at the Chamber’s proposals.

The P.M. talked about the influence of “dark money” – funds raised for the purpose of influencing elections by nonprofit organizations that are not required to disclose the identities of their donors – using the United States as an example: “Everybody likes to talk about the United States being the bastion of democracy. Look at how much money it cost to elect a president, about one billion. Look at the dark money that they have. You have what they refer to as dark money, these so-called NGOs in the United States that pumps hundreds of millions of dollars. Just yesterday I think it was yesterday or the day before [it was announced] where the Koch brothers for the 2020 elections spent half a billion dollars in trying to get their candidate elected.”

The Prime Minister added that on the whole, elections shouldn’t cost as much as they do, but campaign finance reform cannot tie certain actors’ hands and allow loopholes for others.

 

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