Dr Phillips says if there is no statement from the Integrity Commission by the end of this week, he will instruct his team of lawyers to seek an order of mandamus in the Supreme Court to compel the Integrity Commission to immediately take action to fulfill its statutory obligations in relation to the Prime Minister’s apparent disregard of a law that binds him personally, as well as thousands of public servants, who at the peril of prosecution, must obey it.
Dr. Phillips maintains that it is in the national interest that the country's laws are upheld and national institutions are in compliance.
“The Prime Minister’s failure to adhere to the law is a signal to the public that laws can be ignored with impunity if one holds high political office. I will not condone that,” Dr Phillips said.
The Opposition Leader, whose Statutory Declaration has been filed, approved by the Integrity Commission, gazetted and the summary of which made public in compliance with the law, said the lack of urgency displayed by the Prime Minister struck at the heart of his position as Chief Steward of the country. He said the continued delay gave the impression that the Country’s laws are made for only some while others can flout them without consequence.
Questioning what could have changed so drastically in the Prime Minister’s circumstances in 2017 to trigger such a significant delay in releasing his integrity report for 2018, Dr. Phillips said the issue was not about any challenge of Mr. Holness's rights to resources but the need for public servants to conform to the requisite levels of accountability by adhering to laws enacted to engender accountability and integrity of the country’s leaders.
Dr. Phillips noted that this was even more critical against the background of the unprecedented levels of financial scandals and instances of misappropriation of public funds that have so far characterized the Holness Administration.
He said the disturbing misuse of public funds in so many sensitive areas, in the face of increased levels of poverty and hardship in Jamaica was of grave cause for concern. Dr. Phillips said the embarrassing state of affairs, against the background of rising crime, should have prompted the Prime Minister to act quickly to set a firm example against corruption and ensure that his integrity report was released in a timely manner and avoid giving comfort to criminality of any kind.
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