KINGSTON, Jamaica - Kings Counsel Valerie Neita Robertson has criticised the gag clause which is in place for the Integrity Commission’s investigation into six parliamentarians accused of illicit enrichment, stating that it is similar to certain unethical acts that former United States President, Donald Trump has taken.
The investigation was revealed in July during the Integrity Commission’s annual report for the 2022/2023 reporting period, which was tabled in the House of Parliament.
Last Wednesday People's National Party (PNP) president, Opposition Leader Mark Golding, declared that none of the 21 parliamentarians on his side had been contacted by the IC as part of the illicit enrichment investigation.
On Thursday Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader, Prime Minister Andrew Holness also made a similar claim.
While the party heads denied their respective members' involvement in the probe, there are those who have called for the identities of the six accused parliamentarians to be made known to the public.
However, Holness defended the placement of gag order on investigations being carried out by the Integrity Commission by intimating it is a means of protecting the targets in investigations should the result of a probe be false.
"Now what happens to someone who is being investigated for which the investigations turns out to be spurious, or there are no basis for that. Is there a way to repair the damage to that person?” he had questioned.
In an interview on Sunday however, Neita Robertson described the gag order as unfortunate, and stated that it is time for transparency to take place.
“The gag order is unfortunate and the more I think about it, is the more I see similarities between what this government is doing in respect to some things and the Trump playlist. So they need to know that it won’t work because we see the problems that Trump is having now and anybody with foresight would have seen it,” she argued.
“It’s time we really deal with transparency, If there are ministers of government or members 0f parliament who have acquired wealth and cannot explain then I believe that the Jamaica people should know,” Neita Robertson continued.
She also issued a warning while continuing her comparison with Donald Trump and his current legal troubles after his alleged illicit acts have come to light.
“After all, as ordinary citizens the law applies to us and the law must apply to everybody from the Prime Minister, and leader of the Opposition right down. So to make a comparison to what is happening in the United States with Trump and the things that he does and the Republican Party does that they believe that they can get away with, there are similarities, but we need to be more original than that, we don’t need to play those games,” Neita Robertson said.