Holness must not scoff at the law

Letters to the Editor

Holness must not scoff at the law

Friday, August 09, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Every politician who enters representational politics ought to be well aware of the requirements and duties that come with the territory. Filing one's financial returns with the Integrity Commission is not just a duty of holding office, it is required by law.

These days, when corruption is so rampant in politics, integrity becomes even more critical, and our citizens must ensure that politicians don't play games with the system and the general public. We have seen too many leaders around the world being charged with corruption to sit by. Jamaica is a small country, with limited resources and many challenges; there is too much at stake.

Parliamentarians are required by law to furnish their statutory declarations to the commission detailing assets, liabilities, income as at the date of their election, and by December 31 each year thereafter. It is unacceptable that some, including the prime minister, are unable to comply, and it is equally troubling when the commission is unable to give clearance in order to publish the filings. Just as in business, audit and integrity are essential parts of the operation.

If one has something to hide, or if their finances don't add up, he/she should stay far away from politics.

Compliance, accountability and integrity are values every politician should aspire to, and stakeholder interest groups and the public should ensure that politicians are held to the highest standards of accountability and responsibility. It is for this reason I am deeply concerned about the late filing of Andrew Holness's returns with the commission. Holness's 2017 filings, up to recently, were still not cleared by the commission, despite submitting additional information. As prime minister, Holness should be leading by example; there should be no excuse for late or incomplete filings. If one's wealth is achieved through hard work, perseverance, dedication, and success; these are admirable traits! Anything else is of reasonable concern.

If Holness believes that the masses do not care about his personal finances, given that so many scoffed at the use of his mansion as a key talking point during the last general election, he is sadly mistaken.

P Chin


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