The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is seeking to propose a bill as an amendment to the existing Representation of the People Act that will regulate campaign financing once passed.
The BCCI met with the media on Wednesday, January 26, to outline the details of the draft bill as a part of its “Anticorruption, Pro-Good Governance Campaign.”
The bill seeks to regulate campaign financing in Belize, which is an objective currently shared by the Government, which listed this as a goal in the Medium-Term Development Strategy (MTDS) released on Monday, January 23, 2023.
The draft bill promulgated by the BCCI prioritizes addressing issues such as the transparency of donors, campaign budgets, and time period for campaigning. Marcello Blake, BCCI’s president, explained that the bill can still benefit from input from other social partners and key stakeholders.
Blake informed that the BCCI is flexible and open to changes. “It will be continuously changing as we find the gaps and the loopholes are identified. We anticipate that there are going to be adjustments to make it better,” said Blake.
Blake did not specify a timeline; however, he explained that there is a specific set of procedures that the Business Senator will have to follow in order to present it to the Senate.
Blake also made the point that he does not expect much opposition from the government, especially when it is recalled that the current administration has repeatedly expressed its commitment to enacting campaign finance reform.
He did, however, raise concerns regarding the government's timetable for such measures.
“It is concerning for us to see that, in fact, in the Medium-Term Development Strategy 2022 to 2026, that was launched on Monday, this [campaign finance reform] is actually set out to be completed around 2026…why would it need to take that long if it, in fact, was a part of their hundred-day promise?”
Blake stated that the BCCI will work towards ensuring the bill is tabled as a private bill in the senate well before 2025.