Electoral Commission demands party financing reports

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A fine of $2,000 will be imposed on all political parties and candidates who failed to meet the six-week deadline to turn in their election campaign financing reports.
Counting from March 21, the date of general elections this year, the time for submission has passed and according to the main political parties, they have not submitted those reports.The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission issued a press release on Wednesday giving all candidates in the general election notice of six weeks to file the contributions that were made to their parties or risk the penalty.
“At a meeting held (Wednesday), the Commission indicated that it will enforce the section which states ‘any political party who fails to comply with the provisions of the Act therein stated shall be charged the sum of EC $2,000 per day for each day of not filing the said [report]’,” the statement said.
The demand for a statement showing contributions made by individuals and entities to the Commission is pursuant to Section 43 (3 and 6) of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act number 17 of 2001.
Already, the information minister said that the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party’s vice chairman is aware of the press release.
Melford Nicholas told the post-Cabinet press briefing that the party will respond shortly.
“I don’t think there will be any willful intent to not adhere to the prescription of law and I’d imagine that before the end of the week certainly the chairman and the general secretary and the political leader president, I’m sure, would put measures in place, if it has not been done and I don’t know that it has not been done to make sure that we are compliant,” Nicholas said.
Noting that while it is an issue for the party and not one for the government, Nicholas commended ABEC for reminding the candidates.
“I think it is the right call if ABEC sees any untoward or scant regard paid to the law, then it is appropriate that they should remind all parties that they should comply,” he said.
Meanwhile, D. Gisele Isaac, chairman of the United Progressive Party said, “We are in the process.” “We were reminded in a letter, I think last week, and we got a call, and we are hoping to have it done by the end of this week and filed next week. We are doing the best we can.”

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