Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, is seeking to clarify statements he made Tuesday at a PSOJ breakfast at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Justice Minister Delroy Chuck have refuted comments by Mr. Harrison, declaring that the government is not moving to get rid of the Office of the Contractor General.
Speaking with our news center today, Mr. Harrison says he was making reference to the fact that the post of Contractor General would no longer exist when the new single anti-corruption agency is established.
He says he never said that the government is moving to disband the entire office and its function.
Mr. Harrison is also clarifying reports that he denied knowledge of plans to establish a single anti-corruption agency.
Justice Minister Chuck, his Opposition counterpart Mark Golding, and National Integrity Action’s, Professor Trevor Munroe, have since noted that Mr. Harrison was in fact aware of the plans and had made submissions to parliament.
Mr. Harrison says he was not suggesting that he was not aware.
He says he’d criticized the failure of the administration to communicate in a professional manner the timeline for the single anti-corruption agency to be established.
In the meantime, Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, has revealed that Mr. Harrison indeed had personal concerns about the implications of the establishment of the single anti-corruption agency.
He says he’s spoken with Mr. Harrison, who pointed out to him that he has a seven-year contract which began in 2013.
Mr. Chuck didn’t say precisely when that conversation took place.
But he says he also told Mr. Harrison that the plans regarding the structure of the agency weren’t yet clear.
Meanwhile, former Justice Minister and Opposition Spokesman on the portfolio, Senator Mark Golding, has indicated the likely organizational structure of the single anti-corruption agency.
Senator Golding says accountability to a Board is important.
The proposed agency will be known as the ‘Integrity Commission’.
And Mr. Harrison believes the Office of the Contractor General should not necessarily be merged into the proposed single anti-corruption agency.
He says he’d recommended to Parliament that the Office should stand alone.
The Justice Minister and his opposition counterpart, as well as former Contractor General Greg Christie, are in support of the OCG being included in the single anti-corruption agency.
But Mr. Christie has criticized the government for not strengthening the related Integrity Commission Bill now making its way through Parliament.
Mr. Harrison says he agrees that there’s room for improvement.