Prime Minister, Andrew Holness has urged Parliamentarians to refrain from feuding with the Integrity Commission.
“We should not engage in a political ‘cass cass’, because that is how it is emerging between the Parliament and a body that reports to the Parliament,” Holness said.
He was speaking yesterday (June 13) in the House of Representatives. His remarks follow recent concerns raised by Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Integrity Commission’s work and operation.
“We are a country of laws, and the rule of law is supreme; and the Parliament is the instrument through which we make laws,” Holness said.
“The Commissions get their power through the laws the Parliament makes. The Parliament gives an opportunity for members who are aggrieved, or members who want to make a personal statement, to express their perspectives within this House and have the protection of the Parliament in making their statements… and it has been utilised,” he added.
While acknowledging that the concerns raised by MPs were valid, He maintained that “we must always remember we are the lawmakers, and we have the power given to us by the electorate to change the laws… to make them more effective and stronger in the public interest and to make them fair and just and more effective.”
The Prime Minister said if it is a case that the laws that exist do not create the framework in which they work effectively, “we have to get everyone in this House to create the laws to make sure that those Commissions which report to us… that we have oversight of in Parliament… work effectively.”
He emphasised that the Joint Select Committee reviewing the Integrity Commission Act and the Oversight Committee, should increase the pace of their activities and meet more frequently.
“They should review the law in greater depth to make sure we have a law that is workable in Jamaica, and if there are issues, the Oversight Committee should convene and have those issues resolved,” Holness said.
“It is not good for our country for there to be what has emerged, now, in the public space, and if anyone thinks that they are winning, they are leading to the destruction of institutions,” he added.
The Integrity Commission is a Commission of Parliament, which is governed under the Integrity Commission Act 2017.
It seeks to combat corruption through the development, implementation and enforcement of Anti-Corruption legislation, policy, and initiatives.