Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Closed door meeting for parliamentary committee reviewing Integrity Commission Act

Published:Wednesday | May 31, 2023 | 8:33 PM
The deliberations of this committee have attracted heightened public interest. - File photo.

The Joint Select Committee reviewing the Integrity Commission Act, 2017, will on Thursday meet at Gordon House to sift through 60 pages of recommendations made through submissions from members of the public, including civil society groups.

However, when lawmakers meet tomorrow to carry out their duties the media will not be able to cover the deliberations as the discussions will be held in-camera.

A media advisory from Parliament Wednesday afternoon read: “Please note that the meeting of the Joint Select Committee on 'The Integrity Commission Act, 2017', for Thursday, June 1, 2023, will be an in-camera meeting, meaning, it's not open to the press or public'”.

The notice added, “Kindly accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause”.

When quizzed on the reason for the in-camera meeting, Chairman of the Committee Edmund Bartlett sought to assure the public that the committee will be going through 60 pages of recommendations after which its proposals will be referred to Parliament.

“The public will certainly be made au fait with the recommendations that are made now to Parliament,” he said, noting that it will be a laborious exercise that could last for the entire day.

The deliberations of this committee have attracted heightened public interest.

In some instances, controversial recommendations were made by at least one lawmaker for sweeping changes to the Integrity Commission Act.

In his submission to the committee, Member of Parliament for St Catherine South West Everald Warmington suggested in March that the Integrity Commission's powers to request information on statutory declarations pre-dating the promulgation of the law in 2017 be removed.

Further, Warmington wants the removal of Section 55 (5) of the Act, which provides parliamentary privilege to the commission when it submits its reports of investigation to Parliament.

Warmington also proposed that the auditor general be excised from the rank of commissioners of the Integrity Commission and that the prosecutorial powers given to the oversight body be reverted to the director of public prosecutions.

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