Categorized | National News

Sumner Calls for Electoral Reform

Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) CEO Edison Sumner said yesterday that it is imperative for the new government to work towards general electoral reform.

In an interview with The Bahama Journal, Mr. Sumner said this kind of reform is necessary to avoid challenges that took place during the last election.

“One of the things we are looking at which I think would be a concern of civil society is general electoral reform. That would come with campaign finance reform and other forms of electoral reform so that some of the things we would’ve experienced in this last election hopefully will not be experienced again,” Mr. Sumner charged.

“That can only be corrected through putting proper reforms in place to ensure that we can put a structure in place for future use so that we can have more efficient election processes going on as well.

“Many of these were highlighted from the international observers who were here monitoring the elections that we had a week and a half ago.”

One of the biggest challenges during the recent electoral process was the debacle at the advanced poll a week before the May 10 general election.

Among a multiplicity of issues, was the fact that many individuals’ names were missing from the register when they turned up to vote locally and abroad, so they were subsequently turned away.

There were also reports of floating ballots.

In addition, there was speculation that political parties were being funded by special foreign interests, which lead to many calling for financial reform within the electoral process.

Meantime, Mr. Sumner told The Bahama Journal that the BCCEC looks forward to working alongside the Minnis administration, by being fully engaged in the country’s governance, and review of its economic state.

With the country’s current fiscal deficit, it is no secret there is much work to be done on the financial end and this is why Mr. Sumner insists there is a need for the new government to engage the private sector more than it has been in the past.

He noted the fact that the new cabinet consists of four former members of the BCCEC, which he said should work at an advantage.

The CEO further outlined a few pertinent issues which he thinks the government should address.

“We are looking at things like the ease of doing business, or looking at further revisions of our tax infrastructure in the country, looking at issues relative to fiscal responsibility and reporting, and budget preparation,” he said.

“We would like to work with the government to identify ways that we can put a cap on deficit spending and ways that we can build up the resiliency of the economy. This is not only for the benefit of the economy, but the benefit of the private sector and the private sector business community.”

Newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest has said this government will look into ways to reduce spending and in the long term reducing the country’s deficit.

Additionally, Mr. Sumner said it is prudent that the government continues to advance the work the chamber has done in regards to the National Development Plan (NDP).

Written by Jones Bahamas

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