…because of non-functional integrity commission
Months after the amended code of conduct for the Integrity Commission was gazetted by the government, the process seems to be stalled as the People Progressive Party remains concerned that officials are not disclosing their earnings to anyone.
During a press conference on Thursday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo slammed government for the lack of progress on the resuscitation of the long overdue Integrity Commission.
He noted that while the PPP has to submit earnings during their time, the same cannot be said for the coalition.
“For the first time (in) the last three years, nobody now has to submit statements to the integrity commission. From the year 2000 to 2014, we had to comply with the law. We had to submit what we earn and what we owned. Now, 2015, 2016, 2017, (under) this government, nobody has to submit anymore. Yet the PPP was stealing, like we stole the Marriott. We’re supposed to be stealing the Marriott and the airport and all of these things were (supposedly) corrupt projects that we were stealing from. They’ve been there for three years now. They’ve had a chance to go through this”, Jagdeo remarked.
A functional integrity commission is part of the constitutional reform process. State media had reported back in February 2017 that Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who has the lead on constitutional reform, had tabled amendments to the Integrity Commission Act to cabinet for approval.
But, Jagdeo decried the fact that his party is not being included in the process of constitutional
“Constitutional reform cannot be pursued unless it is a bipartisan exercise. This government doesn’t seem to have any enthusiasm to fulfil its own promise of constitutional reform. We have an open mind to constitutional reform.”
“But right now we are fighting a battle for constitutional compliance against many breaches, where the President and his minions will not unilaterally interpret the constitution based on their own lack of knowledge.”
The history of the Integrity Commission is a tempestuous one. In 1999, the previous government had sworn in members to the commission. But since the 2006 resignation of the Commission’s Chairman, Bishop Randolph George, the commission has been headless