Governor Augustus Jaspert said he is willing to raise concerns of campaign financing with the Andrew Fahie administration.
A team of international and independent officials who were deployed to the territory to observe the 2019 General Elections said in a preliminary report of their assessment that they were “deeply concerned” that there were no laws requiring parties and candidates to divulge where the funding of their campaign originates and how it was being spent.
Governor Jaspert said he agrees with election observers’ argument that campaign financing laws would limit the risk of corruption and develop trust in a now-questionable voter system.
“I think it is an important issue that should be debated and discussed. There are people who have lived here for many, many years and want to be part of the territory,” the governor said in a press briefing last Friday.
The governor said while he is prepared to discuss the issue with the government, he said it would be left to Premier Fahie to decide if he wants to take it forward to Cabinet.
Governor Jaspert further said he would wait to get the final report from election observers before broaching the subject with the Premier.
In the synopsis of campaign financing outlined in the preliminary report, election observers said: “With continuing rumours of vote-buying and corruption by many interlocutors, a lack of financial accountability and legislative provision undermines and erodes voter trust in the system.”
The report said without adequate legislation governing campaign finance, the Virgin Islands is not compliant with the UN Convention against Corruption which was extended to the Virgin Islands in 2006.
“This issue is further compounded by the lack of any legal requirement to register or be incorporated as a political party in the Virgin Islands or to provide any public or financial reporting.”
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