Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Bunting welcomes addendum to firearm licence report by Integrity Commission

Published:Wednesday | June 7, 2023 | 6:19 PM
Bunting: "I think it is a commendable effort to correct the record and I think it demonstrates a commitment to fairness and impartiality by the Integrity Commission." - File photo.

Former national security minister Peter Bunting has welcomed an addendum report from the Integrity Commission that has exonerated him from the conclusions of its original document which stated that he acted improperly in the issuing of firearms licences.

In the addendum, which was tabled in Parliament Wednesday afternoon, the commission stated that Bunting acted in accordance with the recommendations of the Firearm Review Board.

Following the publication of the original report, Bunting said in March 2022 that key elements of his responses were omitted in the published report into allegations of impropriety, irregularity, and corruption in the issuance of firearm permits to persons of questionable character.

In a Gleaner interview this afternoon, Bunting said the addendum rectifies the improper and unfair characterisation of his actions from the original report.

“I think it is a commendable effort to correct the record and I think it demonstrates a commitment to fairness and impartiality by the Integrity Commission,” Bunting said.

He told The Gleaner that his “belief in the commission has been restored.”

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for St Mary Western Robert Montague launched a broadside against the commission, saying the anti-corruption body was biased against him.

In its special report of investigation in March 2022, the commission indicated that Montague granted gun licences to persons with a criminal history while he was Jamaica's national security minister.

Montague has stated that he did nothing wrong and broke no law.

He insisted that as a minister he exercised his discretion in good faith and acted at all times in accordance with the law.

According to Montague, he made a statement that was carried in both national newspapers in April 2022.

“The Integrity Commission would have seen and read that public statement. There was a deafening silence then. There was no review of its report then. But another public statement is made and the commission tables an addendum. It's like there is one rule for some and another for others. This demonstrates bias, malice and prejudice,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding, who also spoke on the Motion of Adjournment, said he has seen a trend among Government lawmakers to seek to dismantle the powers of the Integrity Commission.

He cautioned that Parliament should be careful about the signal it sends in its utterances against the commission.

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck charged that members on the Government side had no confidence in the Integrity Commission.

He accused the commission of having no integrity.

- Edmond Campbell

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