Supervisor of Elections Kearney Gomez has issued a warning to all candidates about election expenses. He is urging candidates and their agents to familiarize themselves with Part V of the Elections Law (2004 Revision), which covers this subject.
Election expenses must be documented and declared in the terms stated in the law.
‘The Elections Office will strictly enforce these provisions,’ Mr. Gomez stated.
He summarised responsibilities covered in this section.
Within 35 days after the date on which the election is declared every candidate shall deliver to the Supervisor of Elections a true return in the form requested by the Supervisor containing a statement of all payments made or received by or on behalf of a candidate.
General Elections are set for Wednesday, 11 May. The election results will be officially declared on 18 May. The deadline for submitting expenses will therefore be around 23 June.
Every return shall be supported by a declaration sworn to before a Justice of the Peace by the Candidate in the terms provided in section 67 of the law.
If the return and declaration of election expenses are not delivered before the expiry of the period limited for that purpose, that candidate shall not after the expiry of that time sit or vote in the Legislative Assembly until the return and declaration has been delivered. If a candidate sits or votes in contravention of this section he shall forfeit five hundred dollars for every day he sits or votes and may be subject to civil proceeding being laid against him for the recovery of the penalty.
Candidates who do not belong to a political party may have a maximum election expense of CI$35,000.
Where a candidate is the only candidate belonging to the same party in an electoral district the maximum election expense is CI$35,000.
Where a candidate is not the only candidate belonging to a party at the election in an electoral district the maximum election expense is CI$30,000.
A candidate who contravenes this section of the law is guilty of an illegal practice and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $500 or to six months imprisonment.
A political party who has contravened this section of the law is guilty of an offence and liable upon summary conviction of a fine of CI$25,000.
Appointment of an Election Agent
Appointment of an election agent was permitted from March 23 and any candidate who wishes to appoint such an agent should do so ASAP. It should be noted that an election agent is separate from a polling or counting agent who must be appointed no later then 10 days prior to general elections.
A candidate who does not appoint another person as an election agent shall perform the duties and responsibilities of an election agent.
Persons who are not authorized in writing by the candidate shall not: hold public meetings or organize any public display; issue advertisements, circulars or publications; or otherwise present to the electors the candidate or his views or disparage another candidate.
By carrying out the above and by incurring an election expense in contravention of the Elections Law such unauthorized person is committing an illegal practice and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $500 or to six months imprisonment.
Any person including candidates and any person authorized by a candidate is also guilty of an illegal practice if he: aids, abets, counsels another person to incur any election expense in contravention of the Elections Law; or knowingly make a false declaration as to election expenses.
Determining total expenditure
The deposit made by a candidate on Nomination Day or any expenditure incurred before the date of nomination of the candidate with respect to services rendered or material supplied shall not be considered as part of the ‘election expense’.