Influence of Money in Elections Increasing

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart greets Dr Daniel Zovatto, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, International IDEA, during Wednesday morning’s forum. (A. Miller/BGIS)

The role of money in election campaigns nowadays has increased exponentially, to the point where large numbers of voters have become accustomed to a variety of goods and services being provided as part of the election exercise.

Prime minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart expressed this view on Wednesday while addressing a regional forum on strengthening the regulation of political parties and political financing systems in the Caribbean. Stuart stated that, while he accepted that large campaigns stimulated some economic activity, it was not sufficient justification for allowing expenditure to get out of control.

He noted that the use of money to compromise democratic processes was a universal problem and said data collected by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance’s (IDEA) Study of 2012 highlighted the need, not only for limitations on donations and expenses so that small parties have a chance, but also for regulations on disclosure, enforcement and sanctions worldwide to curb corruption.