Thu | Jul 18, 2019

Brown raps watchdog for hold-up on UDC report

Published:Sunday | March 24, 2019 | 12:27 AMPaul Clarke - Gleaner Writer

The Integrity Commission’s failure to deliver a report to Parliament due more than two years ago on the sale of lands in Ocho Rios, St Ann, which belonged to the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), has prompted a call from Opposition Senator Lambert Brown for a review of the Integrity Commission Act.

Brown told the Senate on Friday that he was entitled to know what was in the report and reasoned that there must be damning information on the Government for it to remain a secret and not yet be tabled.

“I have asked over and over again for it, and I have asked the parliamentary authorities to impress upon the Integrity Commission because I know the report is finished. So why has it not been provided to the Parliament so we can see whether Jamaica got value for money?” Brown asked.

“Why can’t they provide us with this report? What is in this report that is holding it up? I know the report is ready and ought to be on its way to Parliament, if not yet here, and I am demanding a copy of that report forthwith.

“Again, Mr President, has this report been given to the Parliament?”

Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson interjected, telling Brown that had the report been given to the Parliament, it would have been tabled.

“I have listened to you before on this matter, and I assure you it has not been presented to the Parliament for tabling,” Tavares-Finson said.

Brown then proceeded to ask if any efforts had been made by Parliament to ask the commission for the report, arguing that it was unfortunate that the Integrity Commission was being paid for work not produced.

“Mr President, so bad is the performance of this agency that after two years investigating the sale of UDC lands in Ocho Rios, the Integrity Commission cannot provide this Parliament with a report. How can it be? Is it a lack of budgetary resources that is causing this? Because if it is, let us put more of this Budget for the Integrity Commission.

“Is it that it is so damning on this Government? I say, release the report and let the chips fall where they may,” said Brown.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com