Holness denies recommending Integrity Commission boss

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness in a statement this afternoon informed the House of Representatives that he had no role in the appointment of an acting executive director for the Integrity Commission.

“Indeed Mr Speaker, Section 26 of the Integrity Commission Act states that 'subject to the provisions of this Act, the Commission shall regulate its own procedure'. The nature of the establishment of the Commission is that it will act independently,” Holness told the House.

“Indeed, anyone who takes the time to read the Act, which is available online, will note that Section 28(1) of the said Act clearly indicates that 'the Executive Director is appointed by the Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Commission',” he added.

Leader of the Opposition and President of the People's National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips, in a statement had criticised the prime minister for the appointment of Colonel Daniel Pryce as interim executive director of the Integrity Commission for one year, and described the move as “very concerning”.

The opposition leader said that the Integrity Commission was a commission of Parliament and Prime Minister provided no good reason for his recommendation to the Governor General for the appointment of Colonel Pryce.

He also cautioned Holness against temporary appointments which, he said, carry the risk of compromising the independence of Parliamentary and Constitutional Commissions which are intended to give oversight to the Executive.

But, today in the House of Representatives, Holness pointed out that Section 6(3) of the Integrity Commission Act states that:

“In the exercise of its powers and performance of its functions under this Act, the Commission- (a) shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority other than the Court by way of judicial review; and, (b) shall act independently, impartially, fairly and in the public interest; and, (c) shall have the power to do all such things as it considers necessary or expedient for the purpose of carrying out its functions.

“There is no role for the prime minister in the process. Contrary to assertions by the Parliamentary Opposition, I therefore would have played no part in the recent appointment of the Executive Director of the Integrity Commission. I was neither consulted nor advised of this recent appointment of an Executive Director at the Integrity Commission. I saw this in the media like everyone else,” Holness said.

“It stands to reason that in accordance with its establishment as a Commission; it would have used its own judgement in conducting its affairs including in appointing an Interim Executive Director. It would not be appropriate for any second guessing or criticism of the exercise of their authority as an independent Commission,” the prime minister added.

Balford Henry

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