NDC wants NNP to sign no bribery pledge as part of election campaign

by Linda Straker

  • NDC is challenging the ruling NNP to sign a joint bribery pledge.
  • The NNP is yet to respond to the challenge.
  • Grenada’s election legislation provides penalties for anyone found guilty of engaging in bribery and treating voters.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is challenging the ruling New National Party (NNP) to sign a joint bribery pledge which commits both parties not to bribe the electorate for the upcoming 13 March General Elections.

“In addition to that commitment, the pledge calls on the police to open a hotline for allegations of voter bribery to be reported and calls on the NNP government to instruct the police to vigorously investigate reports of bribery,” said a news release from the party.

The pledge reads:

“We, the undersigned major political parties of Grenada, the National Democratic Congress and the New National Party, hereby pledge to not offer any bribes either monetary or in the form of goods to the electorate of Grenada. We further both call upon the police to set up a hotline whereby reports of bribery can be submitted and we jointly call on the police to vigorously investigate reports of voter bribery so that all involved can be brought to justice. Grenada’s democracy is at stake and we both agree to protect it by rooting out voter bribery at its core.”

The Nazim Burke led NDC said it is prepared to sign this statement in a joint press conference with the Dr Keith Mitchell led NNP. The NNP is yet to respond to the challenge.

Grenada’s election legislation provides penalties for anyone found guilty of engaging in bribery and treating voters, before, during, and after an election, with penalties ranging from imprisonment to fines.

A complaint must be made to law enforcement for a matter to be investigated. Section 92 of the legislation says that every person who is guilty of bribery, treating or undue influence, under the provisions of the election legislation shall, on summary conviction thereof, be liable to imprisonment for 2 years, or to a fine not exceeding EC$2,400 or to both such imprisonment and fine.

With regards to bribery Section 88 of the legislation says that the following persons shall be deemed guilty of bribery within the meaning of this Act—

(1) Every person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, gives, lends, or agrees to give or lend, or offers, promises, or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure any money or valuable consideration to or for any elector, or to or for any person on behalf of any elector, or to or for any other person in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any elector having voted or refrained from voting at any election.

(2) Every person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, gives or procures, or agrees to give or procure, or offers, promises, or promises to procure, or to endeavour to procure, any office, place or employment to or for any elector, or to or for any person on behalf of any elector, or to or for any other person in order to induce such elector to vote or refrain from voting, or corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of any elector having voted or refrained from voting at any election.

(3) Every person who, directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf makes any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement, or agreement as aforesaid to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person as an elected member of the House of Representatives or the vote of any elector at any election.

(4) Every person who, upon or in consequence of any such gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement, or agreement, procures or engages, promises or endeavours to procure the return of any person as an elected member of the House of Representatives or the vote of any elector at any election.

(5) Every person who advances or pays, or causes to be paid, any money to or to the use of any other person with the intent that such money, or any part thereof, shall be expended in bribery at any election, or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid, any money to any person in discharge or repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any such election.

(6) Every elector who, before or during any election, directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, receives, agrees, or contracts for any money, gift, loan or valuable consideration, office, place of employment for himself or herself or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote, or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any such election.

(7) Every person who, after any election, directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting at any such election.

With regards to Treating, Section 89 says the following persons shall be deemed guilty of treating within the meaning of this Act—

(1) Every person who corruptly, by himself or herself or by any other person, either before, during, or after an election, directly or indirectly, gives, or provides or pays wholly or in part the expenses of giving or providing any food, drink, entertainment, or provision to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person, or any other person, to vote or to refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election.

(2) Every voter who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, entertainment or provision.

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