Integrity Commission says it’s close to wrapping up process related to PM’s statutory declarations

In this file photo, Prime Minister Andrew Holness delivers his remarks at the Adam & Eve Day Spa's official opening ceremony.

The Integrity Commission (IC) says it is close to wrapping up the processes related to the statutory declarations of Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

The IC is yet to certify the declarations of the prime minister for 2021 which has affected subsequent years.

Chairman of the Commission, retired Justice Seymour Panton, spoke to the issue in the IC’s 2023/24 Annual Report which was tabled in the Parliament on Tuesday. He acknowledged that “much has been written and said in respect of the non-certification of the prime minister’s statutory declarations”.

Panton also noted that the Integrity Commission Act makes special provisions for the statutory declarations of the prime minister and leader of the Opposition (Mark Golding), who are the only two individuals whose certified declarations are made public in summary form.

The IC chairman also pointed to challenges faced by the commission. He outlined that the director of information and complaints is required to examine the declarations and, where he is satisfied, that it has been duly completed, he is to inform the Commission.

“Upon being so informed, the Commission is to publish a summary of the declaration in a form that is set out in the 3rd Schedule of the Act. It must be remembered that to satisfy himself of the due completion of a statutory declaration, the Director of Information and Complaints ‘shall make such enquiries as he considers necessary’. The enquiries are aimed at determining accuracy,” said Panton.

“Given the restrictions imposed by the Act as regards statutory declarations generally, and matters related thereto, I may only say that the processes of the Commission are nearing completion in respect of the prime minister’s declarations,” Panton added.

The Opposition leader has repeatedly taken swipes at the prime minister over the non-certification of his statutory declarations for more than two years running.

During a public squabble in May that was related to Golding’s dual Jamaican and British citizenship which Holness said was incurable even if Golding was to renounce, Golding hit back stating that Holness’ uncertified declarations disqualified him from being prime minister.

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