Editorial | Integrity Commission must tell us more
A supplement of the Jamaica Gazette, published on March 7, formally announced the appointment of Karl Harrison, Seymour Panton, Eric Crawford and Derrick McKoy as the commissioners of the new Integrity Commission with effect from February 26. At the same time, the justice minister, Delroy Chuck, declared February 22 as the day that the Integrity Act, which establishes the commission, came into effect.
The Integrity Commission subsumes, or is intended so to do, the contractor general, who polices government contracts; the Parliamentary Integrity Commission, to which legislators were supposed to file their assets and liability statements; and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, which did the same thing for public servants.
Surprisingly, though, there has been little public discussion about these developments, including if, or how, the new agency is going about the rationalisation of the existing agencies and what has happened, or will happen, to their staff; when this process will be completed; and what those who reported to them, especially public servants, should do in the meantime.
This newspaper has no question about the competence, skill or integrity of the commissioners. Karl Harrison, the chairman, and Seymour Panton are retired justices; Dr McKoy, who teaches law, is a former contractor general; and Eric Crawford is a highly respected auditor and a man given to public service. Nonetheless, they and Minister Chuck have an obligation to inform the public about developments at this critical agency, including the timelines for specific things to happen.
Competence and integrity notwithstanding, they can't expect the public to merely assume.