PSOJ welcomes election campaign financing regulations

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The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has commended the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) for its “persistent and successful efforts” in implementing legislation governing campaign finance contributions.

At the same time, the organisation issued a strong condemnation of a political advertisement posted on social media which, the group said, could damage investor confidence in the country and endanger the life of the investor targeted in the ad.

The PSOJ did not name the investor or the party responsible for the advertisement; however, the ad appeared on the Twitter account of a People’s National Party official and targeted a private company that has bought property in Bernard Lodge.

“We wish to draw the attention of the ECJ and the political ombudsman to an advertisement appearing on social media for a political party which compounds the careless comments of a public official with an untruthful distortion of the facts of the divestment of a property in Bernard Lodge so as to give the impression that the investor in the property was in collusion with corrupt elements in the Government to deprive farmers of their rights,” the PSOJ said.

“The consequence of this careless behaviour could be permanent damage to investor confidence in general, and the endangerment of the personal security of the particular investor,” the organisation warned.

The PSOJ said it “deplores this careless and scurrilous type of political campaigning” and reiterated its calls for “both political parties to cease and desist from gutter politics and mudslinging in the current contest for the East Portland constituency and all future elections. The people of Jamaica deserve and should demand leaders who are worthy of emulation”.

Yesterday, a source with knowledge of the situation said a senior official of the PNP has ordered that the ad be removed from Twitter.

The PSOJ also noted that under the legislation the ECJ has the authority to investigate campaign advertisements and to report breaches in that space to the broadcasting commission.

“We also call on the ECJ and the political ombudsman to redouble their efforts to contain this behaviour and reiterate our support for them in preserving the integrity of our democracy and the progress of our nation,” the PSOJ said.

The organisation said that legislation governing campaign finance contributions has been long outstanding and badly needed. The PSOJ also pledged its support to the ECJ in its efforts to promote public awareness and support of the legislation and the rules and protocols governing campaign financing in the country.

The lobby group pointed out that at the recent launch of the ECJ’s campaign financing public awareness drive, PSOJ President Howard Mitchell asserted that “Every Jamaican should be on the alert for breaches of this legislation, because politicians are spending money donated in good faith in a manner contrary to its purpose.”

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