KINGSTON, Jamaica - Minister with responsibility for Information, Robert Nesta Morgan, has continued his defence of the Andrew Holness-led administration in the wake of a release on Tuesday by the Integrity Commission, which lashed the Government over the failure of the prime minister and members of his Cabinet to sign the leadership code of conduct.
The Commission issued a stinging rebuke of Cabinet minister Marlene Malahoo Forte's comments made in relation to the leadership code of conduct it has asked Government and Opposition legislators to sign.
At the same time, the commission scolded Information Morgan for comments on the issue, slammed Holness for failure so far to sign the code, and declared that it will not recoil from its duty to the public
Addressing the post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House on Wednesday, Morgan pointed to sections of the release from the Commission, including his name and title which he said were incorrect.
Morgan told the media briefing that he can assure the people of Jamaica that he is dedicated to upholding the principles and adhering to the existing codes and frameworks that govern the conduct of Parliamentarians.
“I am committed to serving with transparency, accountability, and the utmost integrity, working towards the betterment of Jamaica and its people,” said Morgan, who was most critical of the posturing of the Commission.
“While I understand the importance of the Integrity Commission and its role in promoting accountability, I believe it is necessary to offer constructive criticism and identify areas for improvement. It cannot be that Parliamentarians are being attacked by the Commission for doing their job of reviewing the law and making suggestions,” said Morgan.
He charged that the tone and wording of the Commission’s release may come across as confrontational or defensive.
“This could inadvertently undermine public confidence in the Commission's ability to carry out its duties impartially.
“Furthermore, there have been instances where the Commission's actions have been called into question, such as the incident with the prime minister, raising concerns about its effectiveness,” said Morgan.
He added that there is a need for clarity and transparency in the Commission's processes.
“The public deserves a clear understanding of how the Commission operates, the criteria it uses in conducting investigations, and the decisions it makes. Improved communication and transparency can help to build trust and demonstrate the Commission's commitment to accountability,” Morgan stated.
According to the information minister, the Commission must ensure that its actions and investigations are perceived as fair and unbiased.
“Any hint of political favouritism or selective targeting can erode public trust and undermine the integrity of its work. It is crucial that the Commission is seen as acting in the best interests of the country rather than being influenced by external pressures or other motivations.
“Constructive criticism is vital for any institution to grow and improve. I believe that by addressing these concerns, the Integrity Commission can enhance its effectiveness, restore public confidence, and fulfil its mandate to promote integrity, governance, and accountability in Jamaica,” added Morgan.