PM on campaign finance reform: “I have seven more years”

PM on campaign finance reform: “I have seven more years”
Prime Minister Minnis Dr. Hubert Minnis

Minnis reiterates commitment to campaign finances, but no timeline

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday reiterated his commitment to introducing campaign finance reform legislation, declaring to reporters as he rushed during the 2020 New Year’s Junkanoo parade that he has “seven more years” to put it in place and see it working.

When asked about the commitment to do so before the end of this term, the prime minister responded: “I have seven more years. We are working on it. What I am concentrating on now is to close that gap in income inequality and to allow more to share in the wealth.”

He continued: “My resolution is to close that gap of income inequality and create more opportunities for the poor and indigent and to uplift the inner city. Thank you and enjoy your New Year.”

On Monday, Attorney General Carl Bethel revealed that a draft campaign finance bill proposes that a campaign donation exceeding $1,000 must be declared; every individual campaign and political party campaign will be required to have a finance officer; and candidates would have to declare to a parliamentary commissioner and be audited by an independent auditor.

Declarations would not be “publicly available”, the attorney general said.

In December 2018, the prime minister said legislation to regulate campaign finances will be implemented before the end of this term — a pledge he made on the campaign trail in the lead up to the 2017 general election.

Ahead of the last general election, there were claims that the Lyford Cay billionaire Louis Bacon indirectly funded the Free National Movement in an effort to destabilize the Christie administration.

Similarly, ahead of the 2012 election, there were allegations that billionaire Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygard gave millions of dollars to the Progressive Liberal Party to help the party win the election.

Following the 2012 election, the Organization of American States, which was invited to act as an observer, recommended that the government implement a framework for financing political parties; prohibit anonymous donations or international donors from giving money to campaigns; and create a mechanism to oversee the flow of money within campaigns