Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Letter of the Day | The curious case of Hayles

Published:Thursday | March 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM


A noteworthy development following the report prepared by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) on the serious allegations of conflict of interest, irregularities and/or impropriety against Ian Hayles, the Western Hanover Member of Parliament, for building constructions without acquiring the requisite permits from the Hanover Parish Council, is the potential court injunction preventing its tabling in Parliament.

If the OCG is mandated to promote transparency, accountability and integrity in the affairs of our public officials, then can you imagine the precedent this would set if the court is minded to issue an injunction against the tabling of these damning findings, which is of significant public interest?

There is clearly a nexus between the questions tabled by Hayles to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the OCG's report, and it certainly gives rise to innuendos and all sorts of conclusions being drawn.

I am, therefore, constrained to ask the following based on Hayles' insinuations:

- Would the contractor general really place his office at risk of falling into disrepute by utilising clandestine means of conducting his investigation into this or any other matter?

- More importantly, what personal vendetta would the OCG have against Hayles, knowing the powers vested in him, as well as his expected adherence to the rule of law, to illegally obtain information to use against him?

- When all is said and done, all public officials are still required to answer to us, and not to themselves, and the OCG must hold them accountable, without fear or favour, when they are found to be corrupt and/or breach the public trust.

Section 28(3) of the Contractor General Act states: "Reports ... shall be submitted to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate who shall, as soon as possible, have them laid on the Table of the appropriate House."

The extent of any interference by the judiciary in governmental affairs should depend on whether the Government was inefficient and ineffective in executing its duties.

I await the unravelling of this curious case of Hayles where the issuance of an injunction would see the judiciary interfering with the executive branch and effectively preventing Parliament from executing its function in this regard.