Wed | Dec 8, 2021

Failure of MPs to declare to Integrity Commission

Published:Sunday | March 10, 2019 | 12:00 AM


Since gaining Independence in 1962, our elected officials have been elevating their personal and political interests over the constitutional integrity of the House of Representatives.

The Gleaner’s editorial of March 8 expressed the view that “the new integrity law, with its independent prosecutor, allows, without the intermediation of the DPP (director of public prosecutions), the direct prosecution of parliamentarians who fail to meet their obligations, or, in circumstances, offers that they pay a fixed penalty rather than face prosecution”.

The idea of “pay[ing] a fixed penalty”, however, does not appear to be a deterrent to our parliamentarians (the very ones who formulated the law) who willfully or knowingly violate the Integrity Act.

More teeth in the act should include removal from a ballot as a candidate or immediate forfeiture of their role as members of parliament, thus forcing a by-election, or terms of imprisonment for not more than twenty years.

These penalties would motivate them to file their annual income, assets, and liability statements with the Integrity Commission, thus elevating and re-establishing the House of Representatives as a place of honour and integrity in the sight of the people of Jamaica.