Sunday 8 December, 2019

Phillips tells Integrity Commission to release his integrity filings

Dr Peter Phillips

Dr Peter Phillips

With the country’s two main political parties continuing to accuse each other of being more corrupt, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has symbolically thrown down the gauntlet to Prime Minister Andrew Holness by giving the Integrity Commission the go-ahead to release the summary of his integrity filings.

This is of particular significance since the Commission recently had issues with the prime minister’s latest filings which were not fully sorted out for some time and not until after influential private sector bodies such as the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce applied public pressure for him to do so.

Corruption watchdog, National Integrity Action (NIA), also weighed in on the matter and Phillips’ green light to the commission came after NIA head, Professor Trevor Munroe, appealed to both him and Holness to make their filings public.

Although the commission is not required by law to make the summary of the Opposition Leader’s filings public, Phillips said it should go ahead and do it, “so that there can be no doubt that I have any objection whatsoever to the publication of my integrity report.”

The Opposition Leader was speaking at a People’s National Party (PNP) meeting in White Horses, St Thomas on the weekend.

Of note is that while Holness has not taken a similar position, the Integrity Commission does not need his permission to make the summary of his filings public.

The intention is that the filings of all politicians will eventually be made public and Munroe and others have said that those deemed not to be in good standing should be barred from running for public office.

Munroe wants the law to be amended to reflect this position.

The issue of corruption has again taken centre stage.

Last Thursday, the PNP staged what it called an anti-corruption vigil to shine the spotlight on numerous alleged instances of corruption inside the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government and the perceived lack of accountability since several scandals came to light.

At the vigil, which started at Mandela Park in Half-Way Tree and moved to the nearby Police Officers Club on Hope Road, St Andrew, Phillips said a future PNP government was committed to stamping out the “scourge of corruption”.

He chastised the Holness administration for alleged embezzlement of public funds in a number of scandals and called on the government to account for $13.8 billion he said it has cost taxpayers for the government’s impropriety.

However, in a seeming ‘tit-for-tat’ the JLP hit back quickly,  utilising several electronic billboard advertisements that highlighted over 20 scandals that the PNP had been involved in over its more than two decades in government. 

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