Tue | Dec 5, 2023

PNP leader chides media over PM’s statutory declarations

Published:Wednesday | November 8, 2023 | 12:08 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Mark Golding, opposition leader and president of the People’s National Party,.
Mark Golding, opposition leader and president of the People’s National Party,.


OPPOSITION LEADER and People’s National Party [PNP] President Mark Golding is accusing the media of not giving enough attention to Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ failure to have his 2021 and 2022 statutory declarations publicised.

Golding hurled the accusation while addressing PNP supporters at the St Elizabeth Technical High School on Sunday, where he once again raked Holness over the coals on various issues to include the Government’s handling of crime, education, and healthcare.

“We have a prime minister who, for two years now, his integrity filing, his declarations, his assets and income cannot be certified, two years in a row. I don’t hear The Gleaner saying anything about it, I don’t hear The Observer saying anything about it; why is that? It is a serious issue,” said Golding.

“It is not a good look, as our international partners can’t be happy with it, and investors can’t be happy with it either. We need a prime minister who everybody has confidence in because their filings are up to date and have been certified,” Golding added.

The Gleaner had previously published several recent reports pertaining to Holness’ statutory declarations not being publicised, including in its publications on October 4 and more recently on October 31.

Up to the time of the October 4 publication, there was no word from the Office of the Prime Minister as to whether or not Holness’ statutory declarations for 2021 and 2022 were certified, or whether he received notifications from the Integrity Commission about the status of the declarations, despite inquiries from this media house.

Last year October, the Integrity Commission said it was not in a position to certify Holness’ statutory declaration, and refused to comment further when questioned on the matter.

The Integrity Commission is mandated by law to give an annual publication summarising the statutory declarations of the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition in the Jamaica Gazette.

Veteran PNP member K.D. Knight, addressing Sunday’s meeting, also commented on the issue of Holness’ statutory deductions, declaring that the prime minister’s failure to have them published could lead to accusations of corruption.

“When, two years straight, you cannot finish your declaration, it don’t look good, and when it don’t look good, the people are going to speculate. I don’t like when people speculate and conclude that the prime minister of my country is corrupt,” said Knight.

In the meantime, Golding also took another opportunity to blast Holness for his silence on the identities of the six parliamentarians who are currently under investigation by the Integrity Commission for alleged illicit enrichment.

“The people of Jamaica want an accountable government, they want a government that believes in transparency, and they want a government that believes in integrity,” he said.

“We have six people under investigation, we are told, six members of parliament under investigation for illicit enrichment; who are they? Why can’t they reveal themselves? Why can’t the party leader reveal who they are to the people of Jamaica? It is not a good look,” said Golding.