There are better ways to handle statutory declarations under the Integrity Commission Act

Letters to the Editor

There are better ways to handle statutory declarations under the Integrity Commission Act

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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Dear Editor,

The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) notes the fall in the rankings of the country on the Corruption Perception Index and finds that the legislation aimed at reducing and eliminating corruption is difficult to enforce, as it is casting too wide a net.

We have the following recommendations:

Firstly, we hold the view that the threshold of $3.5 million for the statutory declarations is too low and must be raised. This low threshold puts a complexity on the administration of the declaration process, as with the increase of wages over time the act will need to be amended to remain realistic and not become unwieldy and to water down the depth and timely examination of all submissions made.

Secondly, for the purposes of in-depth scrutiny, it is convenient to also refer to parliamentarians and certain categories within the public sector, such as heads of ministries, departments, and agencies; senior directors; and divisional heads. In their roles as accounting and accountable officers, these individuals are the decision-makers as stated in the financial regulations for the public sector and the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, and are thus more prone to acts of corruption.

Furthermore, we are of the belief that the method of making submission of statutory declarations is onerous on those who file. The filing of declarations is an administrative nightmare with thousands of public officers being asked to file these annually. It may be more prudent and realistic to have the period lengthened from every 12 months to every 24 months and one made within 12 months of leaving office. The existing method has resulted in a backlog of the examination of filings at the commission.

Lastly, we believe that if information is obtained under the proposed vetting policy for the public service that requires scrutiny, the commission should also be able to investigate any public officer regardless of them not being required to file a declaration.

Jamaica Civil Service Association

jcsasecretariat@jacisera.org

@Jacisera10


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