Opposition Leader Chides Holness for Interim Appointment of Integrity Commission

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Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips is accusing Prime Minister Andrew Holness of making a habit of appointing people to act or serve on an interim basis in crucial posts.

In a statement yesterday, Dr. Phillips said there’s clear and present danger in the temporary appointment of veteran Jamaica Defence Force Officer, Colonel Daniel Pryce, as interim Executive Director of the Integrity Commission.

Dr Phillips is calling on the government to immediately appoint Colonel Pryce on a permanent basis and allow the Commission to do its work independently as it was intended.

Phillips says he’s concerned with the continued and unexplained practice of making acting or interim appointments to critical offices. He says the Integrity Commission is a Commission of Parliament and the Prime Minister has provided no good reason for his recommendation to the Governor General.

Dr Phillips also says Prime Minister Holness has been making a habit of the practice of interim and acting appointments. He says the interim appointment of the Executive Director poses the risk of undermining the independence by infusing fear and reprisal among the personnel within the Commission.

In a statement yesterday, the Integrity Commission says Colonel Pryce will serve for twelve months. The appointment took effect from November 5.

The single anti-corruption agency was established last year. It’s a merger of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the Integrity Commission and the Office of the Contractor General.

Meanwhile, in a statement last evening, the Office of the Prime Minister, OPM rejected the assertions made by Dr. Phillips.

The OPM says contrary to assertions by the Parliamentary Opposition, Prime Minister Andrew Holness played no part in the appointment of the acting-Executive Director of the Integrity Commission.

According to the OPM, Prime Minister Holness was neither consulted nor advised of the recent appointment. The OPM says it also wishes to emphasize the independence of the Integrity Commission as outlined in statute and by practice in the actions of the Government.

Prime Minister Holness’s office says his administration has never and will never attempt to interfere in the functioning of the Integrity Commision, which is an independent commission of parliament

The OPM says it’s urging that statements are properly researched and associated with the facts to ensure that the public is not misled.

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