Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Westmoreland MC supports amendment of Integrity Act

Published:Wednesday | March 17, 2021 | 12:08 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) has come out in support of a resolution in the St Mary Municipal Corporation (StMC) seeking to amend the Integrity Commission Act to reduce the statutory declaration reporting period from 12 years to three years, for public servants.

At the recent monthly general meeting of the WMC, councillors voted in support of the resolution that was piloted by chairman of the StMC, Councillor Richard Creary.

According to Creary, the demand from the Integrity Commission Act is unbearable for public servants to locate critical documentation dating back 10 or 12 years when filling declaration of assets as public servants.

“Be it resolved that a reasonable time frame be no greater than three years be inserted in the act or its regulations, as its prescribed period for which enquiries or requests for past declarations and support documentation can be made,” Creary said in advancing the resolution.

Creary, who is also the mayor of Port Maria, said three years is a reasonable demand as it is also critical to the Corruption Prevention Act whose statutory regulations do not stipulate the time frame of how far in the past the Integrity Commission should request a public servant to submit declarations and or supporting documents for review.

“It is egregious to request persons to compile forms and source information that far back as most of these records, if not kept, have been destroyed or cannot be located,” said Creary. “And, whereas public servants have been requested in recent times to present documentation upwards of 12 years in the past, there are even instances where the documents can no longer be sourced from entities because their records are not kept for those long periods.”

TIMELY RESOLUTION

In giving his support to the resolution, Danree Delancy, the deputy mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, said the resolution is timely but questioned whether it will ever be sent to the Houses of Parliament to have the necessary amendments made.

“That actually makes sense, (however) will this resolution be sent off to Parliament thereafter? Delancy asked. “That’s the only place it can change because it’s a matter of law.

“They have mentioned some points there that make sense. Persons being required to find records going that far back will indeed encounter some amount of difficulties because most entities don’t keep records beyond seven years,” continued Delancy. “Even you, as an individual, have personal records at home that sometimes the wording fades away.”

The resolution is being circulated to the Ministry of Local Government, the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, the Portmore Municipal Corporation, and all other municipal corporations for their support.

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