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Independent Senator Rolph Balgobin yesterday called on the Government and Opposition to make public all the receipts of their respective election campaign financing. He said that should be done instead of seeking to draft a law to ensure it was done. Balgobin was speaking during yesterday’s Senate debate on a private motion by Independent Senator Helen Drayton calling for a Joint Select Committee to consider and report on a legislative agenda for election campaign financing.
He said for too long politicians have been calling each other thieves and it would be more appropriate if all politicians would “voluntarily declare all financing receipts in support of people or party initiatives. “Lead by example and not by legislation. Don’t wait for a law to compel you to do what you know you must do and what this democracy needs you to do,” Balgobin told legislators.
“Take the lead, light the way. Step forward if you will and show the nation what leadership look like. That single commitment will do more for the citizens than the deliberations of any committee. It is time to put up or shut up,” he added. He noted that a similar motion calling for election campaign financing had “died” twice before and he was fearful with the imminent FIFA World Cup 2014, that one could suffer a similar fate.
He said every citizen had the right to support any political party of his or her choice and indicated that support could be financial. Balgobin said the other issue that consequently arose was the extent to which political donations denied someone the right of equality of opportunity, saying if that is ignored it can lead to corruption. He added: “The majority of citizens are blissfully unaware that the democracy is functioning with a part-time Parliament.
“Globalisation had galloped over governance (and) the rate of change in our society has overtaken out capacity to cope, to keep up, and so the Parliament is one of the major institutions of our democracy that has been left behind.”