Electoral Council presents reports to Audit ChamberPOSTED: 08/6/15 7:00 PM
St. Maarten – The Electoral Council has met with the donors who are to get back donations from the National Alliance, Democratic Party and the United Peoples Party according to Chairman Bert Hofman. The council informed the donors that they are entitled to get some of their funds back and informed the three parties by letter. There is however no deadline as to when the parties have to refund the money.
Last week Monday the Electoral Council presented the financial reports to the General Audit Chamber for further vetting. Some parties still have to send in some financial information to the council. “We have learned a lot, there are some companies that made donations but are not registered in St. Maarten. Even well-known businessmen who you might think are registered on the island, and they are not,” Hofman said.
During its review of the donation registrations of political parties, the Electoral Council noted that several parties received more than what is legally allowed in donations. Both the donors who exceeded the limit and the parties were informed about this. The parties will be requested to return to the donors the excess amount received, as is stipulated by law, and submit evidence thereof to the Electoral Council.
Hofman says the council has informed political parties that they should pay back the donors. However there are no regulations that can force the parties to pay the donors by deadline. The council does have suggestions for the parties and candidates if they are not able to pay back the donors right away. “We are here to assist and we look forward to helping the parties involved,” said the chairman.
The independent Electoral Council is an essential part of the country’s electoral procedure. The Electoral Council, which operated for the first time in 2014 Parliamentary elections, is charged with enforcing the law on the registration and financing of political parties.