Greg Christie is back

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Greg Christie is back

No-nonsense former contractor general to lead day-to-day operations of Integrity Commission

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 13, 2020

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GREG Christie, who has been picked to lead the day-to-day operations of Jamaica's leading anti-corruption agency, the Integrity Commission is ready to roll once he walks into the job on May 18.

Hours after the Integrity Commission announced yesterday that Christie has been selected to be its new executive director, the former Contractor General told the Jamaica Observer that he feels honoured to be offered the opportunity to serve Jamaica in this capacity.

“The Jamaica Integrity Commission, as you are aware, has certain defined mandates under the law. Once I am aboard I will be committed to the objective of working under the guidance and direction of the commissioners to ensure those mandates are effectively discharged in the interest of the people of Jamaica,” said Christie as he promised a more fulsome response once he takes up the post.

But there was mixed reaction to news that the often-controversial Christie is to take on this key role at the Integrity Commission.

The no-nonsense Christie had as many admirers as detractors during the seven years that he served as the island's contractor general from 2005 to 2012, and news that he is to return to lead the agency was greeted with muted response yesterday with some requesting anonymity if they were to comment.

Individuals close to the commission told the Observer that while many staff members are welcoming the decision to appoint Christie, others are questioning the move.

“My thing is that he is the right person to wake up the sleeping Integrity Commission, but I wonder what was the process used to select him,” said one Observer source.

“I think that the interim Executive Director Colonel [Daniel] Pryce was doing a fairly decent job so we must be told if there was transparency in the process to select Greg, although I accept that he is perfect for the job,” added the source, who requested that name be withheld.

In a release issued yesterday the commission said Christie will assume the position of its executive director on May 18.

“He will bring to the commission his vast experience in the public as well as the private sector,” said the release, with no comment on what role, if any, will be played by Pryce.

Christie, who is now the director of the Integrity Commission of the Turks and Caicos Islands, left his job as Jamaica's contractor general on December 1, 2012, after his seven-year contract expired.

He served as the fourth contractor general of Jamaica and holds a bachelor of laws from The University of the West Indies, and a master of laws from the University of London.

Before his contract expired in 2012 politicians on both sides of the divide had expressed concern about some of his public pronouncements.

Members of the now-governing Jamaica Labour Party had suggested that some of Christie's comments could cause competent and skilled Jamaicans to think twice before joining the public sector for fear that their reputation could be damaged beyond repair by his office, while members of the now Opposition People's National Party had expressed concern about what they described as “over-zealousness” on his part.

But the politicians all admitted, at the time, that Christie was playing a vital role in tackling the corruption problem facing the country.

The Integrity Commission was established in February 2018 with a mandate to promote and enhance standards of ethical conduct for parliamentarians, public officials, and other individuals.

Under its mandate it is to consolidate the laws relating to the prevention of corruption and the awarding, monitoring and investigating of the government contracts and prescribed licences.

It is also mandated to strengthen the measures for prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of acts of corruption.

The entity was developed under the Integrity Commission Act, 2017, and subsumed the operations of the Office of the Contractor General, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, and the Integrity Commission.

The commission is chaired by retired Justice Seymour Panton, with the other commissioners being Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, Eric Crawford, and retired Justice Lloyd Hibbert.


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