By Alexis R. Milan
The Vision Inspired by the People (Party) has called out the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) on what it describes their hypocrisy on the issue of campaign financing reform.
VIP Public Relations Officer and current San Pedro Mayoral candidate, Robert Lopez, said this week that both established political parties have skirted around the issue with no real intention of addressing it.
Lopez recalled a PUP press conference last week in which, PUP Party Leader, Francis Fonseca raised the issue of campaign finance reform, but when asked why he does not require his own party to make a financial disclosure he responded by saying he wanted to sit down with the government first to establish some kind of policy bi-partisanship.
“It’s hypocritical to call for it but then not want to do it! It’s not rocket science!” Lopez declared.
He added that the PUP and UDP outspend the VIP ten-to-one and the VIP still makes financial disclosures. Every party has the option to be transparent and lead by example, Lopez declared.
Lopez reminded that any donation to any party above $1,000 should be disclosed. He added that the big donations the PUP and UDP receive come with strings attached. Hence their reluctance to disclose their financial sources.
Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry Immediate Past-President, Kay Menzies chimed in from an economic perspective and said it is easy to see that both major parties run campaigns that are outrageously expensive.
It certainly raises some questions and should they ever reveal the amount they spend on campaigning it would be a shocking figure.
According to Menzies, that level of spending on campaigning is not sustainable for the size of the country’s economy. That money, she said, could very well be used to finance other beneficial projects for the country.