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Chuck wants Parliament to improve its oversight role of INDECOM

Published:Thursday | October 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck is not in favour of the setting up of a non-executive review board to oversee the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).

In a Gleaner interview yesterday, Chuck argued that INDECOM is a commission of Parliament, and as such the legislature provides oversight for the agency.

At a press conference

last week, Opposition Spokesman on Justice Senator Mark Golding urged the Government to revisit a key recommendation by a joint select committee of Parliament to set up an administrative review board to provide oversight for INDECOM.

Golding is not satisfied with the current structure of INDECOM, saying it lacks effective accountability and concentrates significant power in the hands of the commissioner.

The justice minister is unmoved by his counterpart's suggestion, noting that, "I think it would be going a bit too far to have an oversight of an oversight body."

Chuck outlined that the speaker of the house, the president of the Senate and the leaders of both houses of Parliament constitute the oversight for commissions of Parliament.

However, he said, "It may be useful to consider whether Parliament want to expand that oversight committee and include other members of parliament, and maybe for that body to meet on a more regular basis to review INDECOM's operations."

proposal for debate

Responding to a proposal for Parliament to debate the report of the joint select committee which considered the INDECOM Act in 2015, Chuck said he was not averse to having members of the House discuss the report.

Peter Bunting, a member of the joint select committee which examined the INDECOM Act last year, had suggested that the non-executive board for INDECOM could comprise three retired Supreme Court judges or former directors of public prosecutions and persons with substantial investigate and managerial experience.