The group said it has received information that the report by the OCG has been finalized since last year and submitted for tabling in the parliament, but it has not been tabled because of its adverse findings against individual(s) involved in the transaction.
The Patriots said the withholding of the report and delaying its tabling in the parliament is tantamount to a cover-up. It begs the question, what is there in the body of its contents that they are afraid of revealing; hence, the stonewalling of the report to the Parliament?
The newly constituted Integrity Commission should state why it is taking almost a year to table a report already completed and whether it is being pressured to alter its contents before releasing the report to the Parliament?
We support the call by Opposition Senator, Mr Lambert Brown for the immediate release of the report in the interest of good governance and transparency. Bring the report to the people’s Parliament, the Patriots said.
At the time of the sale, the PNP’s Shadow Minister of Planning and Development, Mr. Anthony Hylton, M.P., had asked the Office of the Contract General (OCG) to probe the sale of the UDC-owned property because it was believed to have been executed without due regard to the valuation report and was deemed grossly undervalued. It was also alleged that the process might have been subject to ministerial interference.
Enough is enough; it is time to table the report and let the chips fall where they may, the young professionals said.
The group contends that the Prime Minister’s credibility is wearing thin because he continues to speak out of both sides of his mouth. As recently as Tuesday, March 20, in making his contribution to the 2019 Budget Debate, Prime Minister Holness claimed to be leading an administration which values transparency. However, in this episode on the release of the report on the sale of the Rooms on the Beach property, there is no transparency, the group concludes.
It is evident in the present situation that the Integrity Commission Act needs further amendment to compel the tabling of such reports once completed within a specific time to avoid instances of further cover-up and collusion with persons who might be criminally or otherwise exposed and/or implicated.
The business of the Parliament should be maintained at the highest level of integrity and bipartisan discourse, and it is for this reason that we are encouraging the tabling of a Private Member’s Motion to introduce an amendment to the Integrity Commission Act to ensure transparency in its investigations; and specifically, the IC should be required to update the Parliament on a quarterly basis on the state of its investigations without divulging details beyond necessary, the group stated.
- Countries: Jamaica