Mon | Dec 4, 2023

Letter of Day | Jamaica’s democracy in jeopardy

Published:Tuesday | November 21, 2023 | 12:05 AM


The Advocates Network joins with the media and other concerned NGO advocacy groups in concluding that our democracy is being threatened by the recent decisions by the Speaker of the House, Juliet Holness, to delay the tabling of reports from the Integrity Commission and not make public the opinion of the attorney general.

Speaker Holness has displayed an approach to transparency and openness which is typical of an autocratic style of management, and this is a retrograde step for our young democracy.

We are particularly puzzled by her refusal to make public, including to members of the House, the opinion of Attorney General Derrick McKoy on how reports to Parliament from the Office of the Auditor General and the Integrity Commission ought to be handled.

Jamaica’s Parliament has, in the past, tabled forthwith reports from the auditor general and the Integrity Commission. But recently, both Mrs Holness, as Speaker, and her predecessor have decided to revert to delaying submissions to Parliament and causing more speculation and distrust, which we do not need as a nation.

This latest action which has the support of the majority of parliamentarians, who by their silence indicate their agreement, suggests that we are sinking further down the path of denying our people critical information related to the governance of our country. This is clearly in contradiction of our support for transparency.

Jamaica must return to being a defender of openness. We must cease being fearful of disclosing critical information being made public as it becomes available.

Peace, love and understanding!