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NTUCB President Calls for Campaign Finance Laws Amid Senate Revelations

"Revelations such as those raised at this week's Senate Select Committee session, whether substantiated or not, is a constant reminder that Belize needs to move to establish proper laws and regulations as it pertains to Campaign Financing," stated Luke Martinez, president of the National Trade Union Congress.

This call for regulatory overhaul comes in the wake of the testimony by Portico developer David Gegg before the Senate Special Select Committee on Wednesday, May 8th, 2024. Gegg claimed he was solicited for campaign financing by unnamed political figures within the last administration.

“I received a message, and I interpreted that message as saying to me that the environmental documentation approved on August 28 would not be concluded in the absence of a significant campaign contribution,” he told the committee. Despite probing by Senator Bevington Cal, Gegg did not disclose the identities of the individuals involved or the exact amount of money requested, though he confirmed it was a seven-figure sum.

Martinez, like other social partners, has been consistent in the call for reform. Last year, speaking in the Senate, Martinez called for campaign finance reform.

Speaking on the Senate Motion to trigger the Senate Enquiry into the much-talked-about Definitive Agreement, and more specifically, on matters of good governance, said, “Run the campaign finance legislation, leader of government business…run the campaign finance legislation, because when we start with this inquiry, we find out indeed who has set up their retirement plan and who is setting up their retirement plan.”

On January 26th 2023, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) had met with the media to present their proposed bill to regulate campaign financing, an amendment to the Representation of the Peoples Act.

At the time, BCCI President Marcello Blake had explained that the business community—which has a representative in the Senate—would be ready to present the Bill via the Business Senator.

According to proponents of campaign finance reform, the proposed legislation would draw close attention to donors and campaign spending, regulating campaign financing and ultimately requiring full transparency from politicians and their financiers.

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