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Gov't turns down proposal for board to oversee INDECOM

Published:Monday | June 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell

A recommendation by a joint select committee of Parliament two years ago to establish a non-executive review board to oversee the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has not found favour with the Andrew Holness-led administration.

The proposal is part of a report that was submitted by a joint select committee of Parliament to Cabinet which examined the INDECOM law in 2015.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck told The Gleaner in a recent interview that if allegations of misconduct arise on the part of INDECOM personnel the matter could be brought before a parliamentary committee for examination.

Chuck pointed out that Parliament was the ultimate oversight body for the INDECOM commissioner. "We didn't see the need for an additional oversight committee," the justice minister said.

The justice minister said that the joint select committee report was approved by Cabinet and was also discussed by the Public Order Committee, which recommended that the report be adopted.

He said Cabinet has approved drafting instructions and the report should now be with the Office of the Parliamentary Council for amendments to be made to the parent legislation.

The parliamentary committee had accepted a proposal in 2015 for the setting up of a non-executive review board for INDECOM.

At the time of the committee's deliberations, then national security minister Peter Bunting, who made the proposal, had suggested that the board could provide judicial, prosecutorial, investigative, and administrative balance to the deliberations of INDECOM.

Spokesperson for Jamaicans for Justice, Susan Goffe, said the human rights group would welcome some kind of oversight board, not only for INDECOM, but for all the commissions of parliament.

In a Gleaner interview, Goffe said that the board was not intended to oversee the prosecutorial decisions of the commission.