Thu | Jul 9, 2020

Phillips wants oversight for Integrity Commission

Published:Wednesday | May 15, 2019 | 12:28 AM
Dr Peter Phillips
Dr Peter Phillips

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has taken a step to have a parliamentary oversight committee be established to monitor the Integrity Commission.

Phillips tabled a resolution on the matter in the House of Representatives yesterday afternoon, urging the establishment of the committee and requesting that it be convened within 14 days of its establishment to undertake its duties and report to Parliament before the end of the current session.

The opposition leader told the Parliament that he was motivated by the recent controversy surrounding the commission in relation to the release of the former contractor general’s findings after a probe into the Rooms on the Beach land and beach sale in St Ann.

Phillips also moved a resolution for the immediate review of the Integrity Commission Act and, in particular, the confidentiality provisions.

He said the provisions have so far proven to be inconsistent with the aim of transparency and, as such, a review of the act should be undertaken by a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament “in an effort to avoid erosion of confidence in the commission”.

The Integrity Commission was established in February 2018 following the merger of the Integrity Commission, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, and the Office of the Contractor General.

At a press conference on Monday, retired Justice Seymour Panton, a former president of the appeal court and one of five commissioners, called for the amendment of the Integrity Commission Act to remove confidentiality clauses that have effectively gagged the agency from commenting publicly on investigations under way by either correcting misinformation or defending itself from criticisms.