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Pm: Time To Confront Criminal Election Behavior

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie yesterday urged politicians to confront longstanding “criminal” behaviour during general elections in a bid to spark discussions on campaign finance reform.

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Prime Minister Perry Christie

Drawing on recommendations outlined in international observer reports on the country’s electoral process, Mr Christie hit out at the deterioration of ethical political practices at a parliamentary conclave yesterday.

“We are challenged to determine the extent to which foreign investors should be contributing to our democracy directly in campaign finance matters and we have to determine whether we are prepared to regulate that by way of disclosure even if its to an electoral commission and not to the public,” he said.

“We are living a lie to just continue to allow this current system that we’re operating under to exist,” Mr Christie said, “because you know and I know, and everyone else knows that a lot of things are happening, where you’re taking advantage of all sorts of opportunities if you’re the government and it places people at a significant disadvantage and that’s not how a democracy functions.’

“The only way (reform) is going to work is if parliamentarians agree that there is a compelling urgency to be more accountable in what we’re doing, more transparent in what we’re doing.”

CARICOM and the Organisation of American States (OAS) were invited by the former administration to observe the 2012 general elections, and both agency’s reports pointed to campaign financing as an issue affecting the pre-electoral period.

The CARICOM report also called for the establishment of an independent boundaries commission, a code of conduct and the use of smaller voting booths, while the OAS report also cited gaps in the participation of women, the voter registry and media access.

Mr Christie said fellow parliamentarians were aware of the “irregular” proceedings that have been consistent in the country over the past 15 years; however, he did not confirm or deny whether his party was culpable of similar actions during this year’s electoral process.

“There are laws now that say you shouldn’t treat, meaning you shouldn’t do things to induce people to vote for you in an election, and very clearly you can just list countless examples where the law is breached,” Mr Christie said.

“It’s almost like when I’m in power I do it and when you’re in power you do it.”

He said: “Anyone can give monies and you don’t have to account for what is given and you don’t have to name who gave it to you.”

“For me campaign finance reform has now been put on the table by the international observers, there’s going to be a significant amount of public opinion developing on this issue.”

Despite his personal convictions, Mr Christie said he will not impose reform on the country but will instead agitate for legislative change.

He added that parliamentarians must dedicate themselves to promulgating a “new culture” for Bahamian politics.

Comments

TalRussell 7 years, 2 months ago

PM Christie you the man with the House majority so there's no need to be doing all this Yakety Yak. Bring a Bill to the House and "pass" it.

I supported you but I really need to know if the numbers man's handed over money to the PLP directly, or indirectly through your 2012 candidates? For this you done have all the answers about the numbers man's money and me and lots more want to know how much and who got the cash?

Right now your government's proposed referendum seems to be too tainted to take before the natives.

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by TalRussell

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pilgrimagerock 7 years, 2 months ago

Time to confront criminal election behavior, yeah right! Who is Mr. Christie talking to in cabinet, the persons who funded his party 2012 election?

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242352 7 years, 2 months ago

Nothing will hapen with this, nothing will be done.

Christie only said this because the report came back and he didn't want us to say that he didn't respond and take action.

In the mind of his supporters - he did take action - he spoke about it.

So he has acted on it.

We will never hear anything else on the matter,

you watch...

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Required 7 years, 2 months ago

"even if its to an electoral commission and not to the public"

How effing DUMB do you think we are?

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 2 months ago

what the hell ,all these jokers do is talk in parliment ,now they have to have a conclave to talk about parliment ,even with a theme.. lol, watched the news on plp tv tonight ,zns. why even waste money w/ reporters ,just give 15 mins of PGC talking and looking thougthful and caring and 15 mins of U/R with either M Pratt or Supt Dean waxing not too poetic about its merits ,,i swear this joker never stops talking ,,,

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Arob 7 years, 2 months ago

Please stop talking and act.
Let's begin with an analysis of the 2012 election contributions. This election raised flags for the international observers. All of the parties had accountants (somebody) responsible for the documentation of receipt and disbursement of funds. First, tell us the amount of contributions received by the party and second, tell us the amount of contributions received by the candidates.
BCP; DNA; FNM; Independent; PLP

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