Jamaica News, (JIS) – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has reiterated that he played no part in the recent appointment of the interim Executive Director of the Integrity Commission.
“Section 26 of the Integrity Commission Act states that ‘subject to the provisions of this Act, the Commission shall regulate its own procedure’. The nature of the establishment of the Commission is that it will act independently,” Mr. Holness said.
He was speaking during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 13) at Gordon House.
The Prime Minister was responding to concerns raised by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, on the appointment of Colonel Daniel Pryce as interim Executive Director.
Dr. Phillips noted in a statement that the “Prime Minister has provided no good reason for his recommendation to the Governor-General” on the temporary appointment of Colonel Pryce in the role.
Mr. Holness pointed out that Section 28(1) of the Act clearly indicates that “The Executive Director is appointed by the Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Commission”.
“There is no role for the Prime Minister in the process, contrary to assertions by the Parliamentary Opposition. I, therefore, would have played no part in the recent appointment of the Executive Director of the Integrity Commission. I was neither consulted nor advised of this recent appointment of an Executive Director at the Integrity Commission. I saw this in the media like everyone else,” he said.
“It stands to reason that in accordance with its establishment as a Commission, it would have used its own judgement in conducting its affairs, including in appointing an Interim Executive Director. It would not be appropriate for any second-guessing or criticism of the exercise of their authority as an independent Commission,” he added.
Prime Minister Holness reminded the Lower House that the post of Executive Director was proposed as an amendment to the Act in order to strengthen the management structure of the new body.
He noted that it was posited then that the creation of this post was a better arrangement than having Directors of the three divisions of the body report directly to the Commissioners, as was stipulated in the previous Bill.
He added that the independence of the Integrity Commission is safeguarded in legislation and “as a responsible Government, and indeed Parliament, we should do nothing to affect it being perceived as independent”.