Contractor General Emphasises Importance of Managing Conflict of Interest

Photo: Mark Bell Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Denzil Thorpe (left), in conversation with Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, at an orientation session for newly elected local government officials, held at The Knutsford Court Hotel on January 4.

Story Highlights

  • Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, says the effective management of conflict of interest or other perceptions is very crucial to the building of a good public image.
  • He noted that any Government of Jamaica employee involved in a procurement process who has entered into, or is about to enter into, a financial or business partnership that may involve a conflict of interest must immediately inform his or her supervisor.
  • Meanwhile, Mr. Harrison urged the councillors to guard against nepotism, which is favouritism towards relatives or family members.

Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, says the effective management of conflict of interest or other perceptions is very crucial to the building of a good public image.

He points out that conflict of interest, as it relates to public procurement processes, arises when a public official has a private-capacity interest, which could improperly influence the performance of his or her official duties or responsibilities.

Mr. Harrison was speaking to newly elected local government officials at an orientation session, held at The Knutsford Court Hotel on January 4.

“All personnel, including parish councillors and other persons appointed to the areas of public service and who are involved in a procurement process, are expected to observe the Government of Jamaica Code of Conduct for civil servants outlined in the Staff Orders,” Mr. Harrison said.

“You are expected to be free from interests or relationships that are actually or potentially detrimental to the best interest of the Government and shall not engage or participate in any transaction involving a company, its affiliates or division in which they may even have minor interest,” the Contractor General said.

He noted that any Government of Jamaica employee involved in a procurement process who has entered into, or is about to enter into, a financial or business partnership that may involve a conflict of interest must immediately inform his or her supervisor.

“It is the duty of all staff and other public officers and officials directly involved in the preparation of these documents to be aware of the conflict of interest,” the Contractor General said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Harrison urged the councillors to guard against nepotism, which is favouritism towards relatives or family members.

He said nepotism is manifested in ways such as inappropriate influence in the recruitment process for a relative to get a job or to be granted a government contract, among other things.

He noted that the Office of the Contractor General, in the discharge of its mandate, has previously cited instances of nepotism at the local authority level.

Mr. Harrison further encouraged the councillors to become familiar with the relevant laws and seek legal advice before decisions are taken.

The orientation session was attended by councillors from the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Thomas.

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