The Belize Peace Movement (BPM) strongly believes that no election should be called unless the redistricting exercise is carried out and campaign finance legislation is enacted. According to Bobby Lopez, President of the BPM the root of corruption in the political arena is campaigning financing. Lopez says the redistricting is doable before elections and the campaign financing legislation would put a system in place for the next campaign season slated for later this month.
Bobby Lopez, Belize Peace Movement: “This is about Belize, this is about our democracy and the first pillar, we’ve been saying this from since way back in 2005 when we produced a document called “The Pillars of Democracy.” The first pillar of a strong democracy is the pillar of fair representation and that starts with a voter’s list that has integrity that can be trusted. Number two, the redistricting being fair and in accordance with the constitution. Now in 2012 we bought these issues to the forefront, in 2015 we attempted to take it to court only it was too close to the 2015 election and it didn’t get in. So this is not something we just started a year or two ago, we have been writing to the Elections and Boundaries for years, same thing with campaign financing, this is the only group those who have run before that have produced a campaign finance report before during our elections and after so that the Belizean populace and voters can see how we spent our money, where we got it from and we always challenged the parties do the same because we have been saying over and over the root of corruption in the political arena is campaign financing and that’s where it’s now coming out and we’re glad to see it’s coming out and the social partners now talking about it, the media talking about it but we’ve been saying this for years and nobody wanted to listen. We are about good governance, honestly, all of our members would walk away from this if everything were in place and our country were doing well, we would go back to our businesses. All of us are independent Belizeans with our own business, we leave our business, we’re paying for our own expenses to come to court and so we call on other Belizeans come forward and support this case. This is the most historic case with regards to our democracy, with regards to getting it right and then moving on to the next step of uniting our country, of becoming a productive country and yes eventually the last pillar having social justice in this country and not a culture of dependency where you have 50% of our people depending on that little pantry box to come and so they bought the voters essentially. Look at what has come up, they have to be payin – they have said it themselves, paying for school fees, paying for electricity bills,, that is what has gotten them into this mess- well that’s a poor excuse for having gotten yourself into this mess. Honestly we need to get out of that and yes we support campaign financing before the next election. I want to make this very clear, the InterAmerican Convention on Corruption signed by this government I believe 2001 comes with campaign financing legislation, that could have been enacted a long time ago. UNCAC came with it in 2016 when we signed on, it’s not like we have to go and reinvent the wheel, it’s not like we have to ask the Attorney General’s office to come up with the laws, no man the laws are there, best practices are there. We keep wanting to create things ourselves when we can learn from the mistakes of others and learn from the best practices of other democracies and put it in place.”
The main opposition party, the PUP is promising to bring about legislation on campaign financing if they are elected into Government later this year. The Belize Network of NGOs (BNN), however, is demanding that the legislation be done immediately. In an interview last week with Patrick Faber, he says he conditionally supports the legislation on campaign financing.