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THE PUBLIC MUST KNOW!

As part of questions on a 2015 live tv pre-elections debate between the two contenders at the John Mackintosh Hall, Equality Rights Group’s Chairman called on the leaders of the GSLP and the GSD to disclose who funded their campaigns and their Parties. Neither did so.

Now, another election approaches. And we are still in the dark. Can any politician justify talking of ‘transparency’, when there is none on these matters? And now we’re facing the likelihood of a Parliament with many more MPs than ever before. How will that affect their finances? Will more donations be required or elicited? At the moment, the public is not told anything at all.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with political donations. They’re perfectly licit. But, in a democracy, they must be conducted in the full light of public information. Anything less is worrying. Just as MPs’ parliamentary salaries are, quite rightly, public knowledge, Gibraltar needs a law requiring political parties and politicians to respect you sufficiently to disclose to you, the citizen, the sources of their income from donations or elsewhere. That needs to include how much, from whom and to whom. In clear, specific, detailed, and open ways.

And here we are in 2019, and on the edge of new elections, and still not a whiff of disclosure! Why?  

The public has a legitimate interest. Its curiosity is logical – and even necessary! How do the politicians and Political Parties pay for everything? How much do they raise in membership subscriptions – and how much in donations, and through other forms of income? It matters that citizens know!

There’s a thousand and one financially-related questions that remain a mystery. Isn’t it time we got to know? Isn’t it time the political parties were required to present detailed annual statements of income and expenditure?

Our politics , our politicians themselves, and indeed our society would only benefit if we did this much. After all, we entrust politicians to govern our collective affairs, and, in great measure, our lives. They, too, should trust the people who vote for them by fully informing them. Better standards of governance in due course filter through to a better society.

This is an important issue not only for you, but for the Gibraltar we want our young to inherit. And because in the end, it’s you, the ordinary taxpayer and voter, who pays – in many different ways.

POLITICAL FUNDING LAW NOW:

THE PUBLIC DESERVES TO KNOW.

BETTER STANDARDS: IT’S A MATTER OF RESPECT!