“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money and that is sincerity and integrity.”
– Donald A. Adams
I believe in the need for Jamaica to have an Integrity Commission made up of members of the highest unquestionable character and impeccable integrity. I can also admit that in today’s sceptical society in which we exist, the likelihood of finding those above accusations might prove tedious.
It is well known that in Jamaica every selection, election, invitation or nomination can be met with allegations of nepotism, favouritism, connections by family or friendship and the list goes on.
Presently, it is widely accepted that the Integrity Commission has good leadership. There are times when even good leadership can, and should, be questioned and not merely left as a picture of perfection. This is one such instance where recent findings suggest there is need to hold them accountable.
The Integrity Commission wants to function independently enough to not have its findings subject to the whims and fancies of selective negativity. As such, it holds cards to its chest very closely and shares information sparingly. Understood.
However, the idea that placing definitive findings in some cases, while leaving others open to public sentiment, scrutiny, and even scandal, is not in keeping with integrity. The consistent watchdog approach is needed, but must at all times not only seem to be transparent, but be unequivocally revealed to be done.
The very staggering revelation that the heads of the Integrity Commission are not required to furnish their statutory declarations, betrays the very trust they seek and the integrity of which they speak. How can it be justified that a highly placed body responsible for ensuring our legislators and public servants comply in a timely and truthful manner, need not be subject to their own design and mandate? How can the body responsible for checks and balances, income, earnings, assets and liabilities, be the same established circle exempt from compliance?
The even more troubling fact is knowing persons declared as having the highest integrity sat as a collective to accept this most questionable and shady existence. There is no resistance or hesitation on the part of the Integrity Commission to make the public aware of tardiness or reluctance on the part of public officials. In fact, we should expect and demand they be given free flow to do their job.
I recall reading a quote which basically said integrity advertises you as an individual who will always do the right thing, even if they have to move heaven and earth to achieve it. We should also demand the commissioners practice what they preach and also submit their declarations in full. It is actually a most disappointing fact to face that they believe integrity is a post and not a principle for all to follow. We can call it shameful. It is actually shameless hypocrisy.
“People with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others have excuses.”
– Dr Laura Schlessinger
Editor’s Note: The Commissioners of the Integrity Commission are not required to file their statutory declarations, however the staff, including the Executive Director, are required to file their declarations.