At the declaration of victory for the Barrow administration back in 2008, members of the Integrity Commission had resigned making way for the new Government to appoint a new set of representatives. Despite the clamor made by some pockets of society to have the commission reactivated, it wasn’t until today, January 12, 2017 that seven persons were officially sworn in and the first meeting held inside the National Assembly. But just what is the charge of the Integrity Commission? We asked the Chairman, Marilyn Williams to explain.
“The act allows us to look at the decorations that are submitted and look over them carefully and come to a determination where a certificate will then be issued to say everything is in compliance and if not then we call the specific member in and have discussions until such time that we feel that the declarations are in order. The other thing is to deal with those acts that have been defined by the act as meeting the definition of corruption we can then conduct an investigation and at that point we will decide after we have done the investigation, which allows us to interview the person that the complaint is made against, to interview any witnesses that we feel might be necessary in terms of making a decision with regard to the whole process and then if we feel the matter needs to go further then we submit it to the office of the DPP.”
With the Integrity Commission in place we asked Chairman Williams to shed some light on who falls under the public persons category.
“We have public servants, politicians, people that hold position in certain governmental committees and the like I mean it is too broad to go into great detail but it covers public persons who are holding certain positions as defined by the act. “
Today in speaking with Senator Godwin Hulse, we did get some clarification on the public persons category which he says does not include public officers as was indicated by the Chairman. As it relates to declarations, Chairman Williams says those will be looked at holistically.
“That is not something that we can define to a nicety, you’ve got to look at the entire document it’s sort of like doing a financial investigation. You know when someone submits their financials you look at it and you ask yourself given the fact that line one says this does line two make sense, does line ten make sense so it’s not something I can say to you right now that there is a reg flag we are going to be looking for we have to look at the document as a whole and see whether it all makes sense.”
The Integrity Commission is part and parcel of the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act.