Lambert Brown calls for special corruption court

Lambert Brown calls for special corruption court

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, January 25, 2020

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OPPOSITION Senator Lambert Brown on Thursday proposed setting up a special division of the courts to deal with financial crimes and corruption.

Speaking in the State of the Nation debate in the Senate, Brown also urged the Government to appoint an oversight committee to monitor the performance of the Integrity Commission (IC).

He also accused Prime Minister Andrew Holness of failing to respond to the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) issues and, specifically, not doing anything in Parliament since the special report from the auditor general was sent to the House of Representatives.

“What has the prime minister done since the audit report came to Parliament's attention? The prime minister needs to come to the country and make a statement. Better yet, come to the House of Representatives and address the scandal at the Caribbean Maritime University,” Brown said.

“This report from the auditor general confirms, for me, that the state of our nation can be summed up in seven letters c-o-r-r-u-p-t,” he stated.

Brown also urged the Financial Investigations Division (FID) of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to “follow the money” trail, suggesting that it would lead them to answers about alleged missing funds from CMU's Trust Fund.

“Because if they do, they will find the people who ought not to be among us, but to be elsewhere… The only next term they should have is a prison term,” he commented.

Brown maintained that the problems facing the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) were not due to obeah, bad luck, the media, or politics, but “failed leadership”.

“Failed leadership in an institution where the prime minister is the portfolio minister [for education],” he said, referring to the fact that education continues to operate under his office.

“The prime minister must take full responsibility for what is happening today to his Government,” he insisted.

Brown also responded to a comment from Government Senator Kerensia Morrison, who spoke earlier in the State of the Nation debate, suggesting that after the next general election the People's National Party's (PNP) head office at 89 Old Hope Road in Kingston could become a museum.

“Those who talk about 89 [Old Hope Road] becoming a museum must understand what Belmont Road (JLP head office) was in those 18-plus years [when the PNP was in power]. They must understand that if 89 becomes a museum, it will be a museum doing good things for the Jamaican people,” he insisted.

He urged the Government to give the Integrity Commission the full staff it needs to do its work, and recruit and train investigators, whether they are needed by the FID, Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency or the commission.

He said that corruption issues were taking too long in the regular courts.

“It is taking years and years, and I propose that we consider setting up a special division of the courts to deal with financial crimes and corruption, and fast-track the outcome of the MOCA, FID and Integrity Commission cases, if we are serious about fighting crime,” he added.

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