The Full Story
Jamaica has implemented several measures to ensure the highest standards of conduct, accountability, and ethics among its political leaders.
This was noted by Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, at today’s (June 7) post-Cabinet press briefing, at Jamaica House, in St. Andrew, in response to a recent press release issued by the Integrity Commission.
“In addition to the Integrity Commission Act, we now have a Code of Conduct going through the process in Parliament, which provides a comprehensive framework for ethical behaviour and accountability. This code outlines principles such as honesty, integrity, and the responsible use of public resources, emphasising the standards expected from our political leaders,” he said.
Furthermore, Minister Morgan explained that various laws and regulations, such as the Financial Administration and Audit Act and the Public Bodies and Accountability Act, impose strict financial management and reporting requirements on Ministers and public officials.
He said these frameworks aim to ensure responsible and transparent use of public funds as well as effective governance practices.
“While signing an additional Code of Conduct could symbolise further commitment, it is equally important to recognise the substantial measures already in place to uphold integrity, governance and accountability. It cannot be reasonable and fair for us to be intimidated and threatened to sign an additional code without even an iota of consultation,” he said.
“I am assuring the people that I am dedicated to upholding these principles and adhering to the existing codes and frameworks that govern our conduct. I am committed to serving with transparency, accountability and the utmost integrity working towards the betterment of Jamaica as a people,” the Minister added.
Minister Morgan said the Integrity Commission must ensure that its actions and investigations are perceived as fair and unbiased, noting that any hint of political favouritism or selective targeting can erode public trust and undermine the integrity of its work.
“It is crucial that the Commission is seen as acting in the best interest of the country rather than being influenced by external pressures or other motivations,” he said, noting that the mandate of the Commission aims to promote integrity, governance, and accountability in Jamaica.
Meanwhile, Minister Morgan said that he has not been presented with a Code of Conduct or received any training from the Commission since his appointment as Cabinet Minister.
“The responsibility rests not on me or the Minister or the Government to go out and seek this document; it is you whose mandate it is to craft codes of conduct, so it is you who need to come and engage with me; you have never engaged with me on that matter,” he said.
Mr. Morgan assured that there is no combat between the Commission and the Government. “People need to do what they are appointed and elected to do,” he said.
For his part, Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said he was extremely concerned about the statement issued by the Integrity Commission.
“I find the statement to be rude, repugnant and offensive. In particular, to indicate that those who fail to sign the Code of Conduct will be sending the signal to Jamaica that… those who fail to sign do not intend to live up to those particular conduct expected. Let me say, like Minister Morgan, I have never seen this Code of Conduct,” he said, noting that his approach to life is guided by Christian principles.
He said the Joint Select Committee of Parliament is determined to adjust the Integrity Commission Act to ensure that “it acts properly within its mandate and that corruption can be removed from all levels of the Jamaican society”.
The Minister said approximately $1.3 billion has been budgeted for the anti-corruption agency to carry out its mandate in this fiscal year.