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G2K wants 'more teeth' in Integrity Commission Bill

Friday, March 28, 2014    

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GENERATION 2000 (G2K) — the young professional arm of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party -- has welcomed the tabling of the Integrity Commission Bill, but has raised concerns about sections of the Bill.

G2K President Floyd Green, addressing a press conference at the party's headquarters in Kingston, said corruption has consistently been concern for Jamaicans, but said the Integrity Commission Bill, as framed, sends an unequivocal message that the country was not taking a zero-tolerance approach to corruption.

"It is true that in Jamaica corruption continues to impede democracy and the rule of law, causing our public institutions to lose legitimacy and resulting in ever increasing cynicism across our population, depleted national wealth and crippled economic growth and development," said Green.

Jamaica, he added, continued to be categorised as highly corrupt with a score of 38 out of 100 by Transparency International, far behind most of its Caribbean neighbours, as he made a reference to the recent declaration from the University College of the Cayman Islands Conference on Corruption.

According to Green, the Bill appeared to actually remove some of the powers that the Office of the Contractor General now has and remains silent on the ability of the commission to inquire into the pre-contractual stage of a contract award. Green also lamented that there was no power to allow the commission to stop a contract upon the finding that it had been improperly awarded.

At the same time, Green said the $500,000 maximum fine or six months imprisonment where public officials fail to submit a statutory declaration, fail to forward requested information to the commission, or fail to attend an inquiry, would be a "slap on the wrist. Government, he said, should consider a mandatory prison sentences where officials are found to be corrupt.

"... We must ensure that the powers of the contractor general are strengthened and not diminished, and Parliament must ensure that it moves with alacrity in having this Bill made into law by September," said Green.

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