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‘We’ll publish when we’re finished’ - No timeline for release of PM’s statutory declarations, says Integrity Commission

Published:Friday | August 9, 2019 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

The Integrity Commission has indicated that it has set no timeline by which the summary of the statutory declarations for Prime Minister Andrew Holness will be gazetted despite his publicly expressed desire to see a resolution before the end of this week.

Yesterday, Colonel Daniel Pryce, executive director of the Integrity Commission, stressed that a summary of the prime minister’s declarations would not be released until all legal requirements were met.

“It is the intention of the Integrity Commission, so as soon as it is finished doing what is required of it in law ... we will publish, as required by law, the summary of the statutory declarations of the prime minister. When we are finished, we will do it,” Pryce told The Gleaner.

In response to questions from an RJR reporter on Wednesday, Holness said that he could release his statutory declarations by the end of the week if the commission did not publish the documents.

Under the Integrity Commission Act, 2017, the corruption watchdog is mandated to annually publish in the Jamaica Gazette the summary of the statutory declarations of the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips’ declarations were published by the commission on July 12. The summary revealed that Phillips’ family declared assets and income totalling roughly $185 million last year.

The Integrity Commission in May held a press briefing, where it indicated that it had not cleared the 2017 statutory declarations filed by Holness and seven other current or former members of Parliament.

But yesterday, Pryce told The Gleaner that he was not able to speak on previous declarations due to “the requirements of the law”.

“I am not at liberty to speak about that. I can tell you that the current one is the one that requires publication,” Pryce said.

State Minister in the Labour Ministry Zavia Mayne, Luther Buchanan, Leslie Campbell, and Ian Hayles are the members of Parliament whose declarations were, at the time, not cleared.

Former Education Minister Ruel Reid, Arnaldo Brown, and Keith Walford are the former lawmakers whose declarations were not cleared.

When asked about the state of cases before the commission for prosecution, the executive director said he could not provide an update.

The Integrity Commission has recently been facing harsh criticism for failing to provide an explanation for its failure to gazette the prime minister’s declarations as mandated by law.