Parliamentarians under investigation should step aside
Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is calling on the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and the Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding to act regarding individuals under investigation for illicit enrichment by the Integrity Commission (IC).
While recognising that natural justice is important, the leaders of government must send a signal that corruption will not be tolerated and urge its members to take temporary leave from any parliamentary functions that they may hold.
JFJ also calls upon those parliamentarians currently facing investigations to voluntarily step aside from their duties, particularly if they hold positions within the oversight committee of the Integrity Commission or the joint select committee responsible for reviewing the legislation governing the anti-corruption body.
A thought-provoking inquiry raised by the executive director of the Integrity Commission in its latest annual report adds significant weight to this matter: “There is a ‘what if’ concern regarding the potential for a conflict of interest, which needs to be openly discussed in the public interest. It concerns the question as to what should happen if a parliamentarian who sits on the ICA-JSC or the IC Parliament Oversight Committee should become the subject of an IC Investigation.” If parliamentary representatives engaged in operational or legislative roles are subjects of ongoing investigations, a conflict of interest becomes apparent. This compromise jeopardises the public’s confidence in the legislative process and the very foundation of the parliamentary institution.
JFJ underscores the absolute necessity of a fully independent IC, fortified by constitutional safeguards. The organisation is adamant that the existing gag clause under Section 53(3) must be repealed to enable transparent discussions and actions. Anything less suggests a Parliament that reinforces a two-class privilege system that will exercise its power for its benefit.
JFJ implores the prime minister and the leader of the Opposition to prioritise the interests of their constituents over the affiliations of their political allies. The current situation demands swift, unflinching action to safeguard the integrity of governance and to maintain public trust.
Jamaicans for Justice