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JAMAICA | Its the Integrity Commission that should release PM's statutory declarations says Phillips

Featured Opposition Leader, PNP president Dr. Peter Phillips (left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness Opposition Leader, PNP president Dr. Peter Phillips (left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness
KINGSTON, Jamaica, August 8, 2019: The Parliamentary Opposition has expressed concern following the Prime Minister's declaration that he will release his statutory declarations if  the Integrity Commission fails to do so by the end of the week.
 
The Opposition is insisting that it should be the anti-corruption body and not Prime Minister Andrew Holness who should make the filings public.

In a statement  today, Opposition Leader Dr.  Peter Phillips  says the PNP will continue to push for the National Integrity Commission to publish and gazette the summary of the Statutory Declaration of Assets and Liabilities filed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in accordance with the Integrity Act, as its non-disclosure is a breach of the law, which triggers mandatory sanctions.

Reacted on Thursday to the Prime Minister's pronouncement, Dr.  Phillips noted that "the obligation rests with the Commission to make a pronouncement as to the adequacy of the returns."

"No one is above the law, not even the Prime Minister, and therefore it expects the Integrity Commission to carry out its duty prescribed in law. It said disclosure by the Prime Minister is not the legal procedure, but rather a cleared declaration by the Integrity Commission," Phillips' statement said.

"The law is clear on how this matter is to be treated. The law applies to everyone and the Prime Minister’s releasing of his declaration, without the clearance of the Integrity Commission, will not satisfy the law. That would be nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the legal requirements.

The PNP said the Prime Minister needs to be aware that any such action by him will not deter the Opposition from pursuing its proposed court action. The court order of mandamus that the Opposition may have to seek is to compel the Integrity Commission to fulfil its obligations under the law.

The party said it was expecting the Integrity Commission to fulfil its obligation on behalf of the people of Jamaica.

The Integrity Commission has cleared and accepted the declaration made by the Leader of the Opposition and published the summary. They have not done so for the Prime Minister, who says he has filed his declaration and expected the publication of his summary two weeks ago. The obvious question to be asked now is whether the Integrity Commission is unable to publish his summary because they have not cleared and accepted his declaration? That is the issue the Prime Minister must address.

“While we agree that the Integrity Commission is a relatively new institution, this is not the kind of matter that would be new to the Commissioners and the professionals employed by The commission,” the party said. It should be noted that they were able to act in the case of the Opposition Leader.

This matter must be treated with seriousness. There cannot be one law for the ordinary citizen and another for public officials. This cannot be countenanced.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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