Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says his government is still committed to passing integrity legislation. (IWN photo)

The Unity Labour Party (ULP) government is committed to the introduction of integrity legislation but is not prepared to give a time frame.

“And that’s why I included it, I argued for it to be included as a constitutional requirement. I asked for, as a matter of constitutional law, not of statue law, that an integrity commission be included It was voted down,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told a press conference this week.

An integrity commission was part of proposed changes to the nation’s Constitution that citizens rejected in a vote in 2009.

Gonsalves was asked about integrity legislation when he held his annual town hall meeting with Vincentian in New York on Saturday.

He said that integrity legislation could deter persons from public service since they might have to declare also the assets and liabilities of their spouses, even as the compensation for some types of public administration is minimal.

Integrity legislation was a speaking point for the ULP during the lead-up to the March 2001 elections, when the party first came to office.

Former national security minister and ULP member, Sir Vincent Beache, who is now retired from politics, promised integrity legislation in 100 days, saying if it is not passed, “don’t look for me”.

On Monday, Gonsalves was asked if the ULP had considered some of the things he spoke about on Saturday, when it promised integrity legislation 12 years ago.

“We had; but you may take things into consideration but not necessarily give the weight and as the matter meanders through various drafts and I see how the matter is unfolding and the problems even in Trinidad and Tobago with the implementation of it, that, how can we strengthen the anti-corruption regime and the perception of it?

“How can we strengthen it, without, at the same time, undermining the overall efficacy of public administration?” he further said.

He said that in Trinidad and Tobago, the judges ruled that the integrity legislation was unconstitutional in relation to judges, because the judicial and legal services commission supervises judges.

Gonsalves further said that his Dominica colleagues, Roosevelt Skerrit, has difficulty in getting people to serve as chair and members of statutory boards.

“There are statutory entities where the chairmen hardly get any money,” Gonsalves further said in relations to St. Vincent, adding that compensation range from EC$500, to EC$4,000.

“How are you going to get persons to take these jobs? … Who is gonna serve as members of boards if you have submit to put your assets and liabilities out — every cent that you bank anywhere, any mortgage that you have, not only for yourself [but also] your spouse, your children?

“People will say it is just not worth it. The same thing relates to members of Parliament. The same thing will relate to public servants, senior public servants,” he further said.

“So, these are practical questions which mature leadership have to reflect on,” he said.

Gonsalves said that existing legislation makes provision against corruption in public administration.

“There are several offences for which public administrators can be brought up on,” he further said, adding that any integrity legislation has to consider how to have a declaration of assets “without imposing onerous burdens on persons who are willing to serve.

“… So, I answer you in that genuine and open manner, seeking to balance all the considerations,” he further said.

9 replies on “After 12 years, PM says he’s committed to passing integrity law, but won’t give timeframe”

  1. Integrity legislation, Reparations, Medical Marijuana……….its anything besides a meaningful update on the airport that was stated in parliament to be complete July 2014.

    I wonder what we going to be promised next week.

  2. STEVE_HUGGINS says:

    In other words, I will call for INTEGRITY LEGISLATION only WHEN I AM IN OPPOSITION, but NOT WHEN I AM IN “POWER” !

    “Do-So” nah like so.

    So, it was ALL A CON JOB, and STIL IS.

    just another politically corrupt POLITRICKAN.

  3. Here we go again, Integrity legislation has nothing at all to do with the constitution and he well knows that, its another load of deceptive crap rendered unto us.

  4. Patrick Ferrari says:

    Why now? It is more like carrot legislation, if you ask me.

    Integrity legislation now is like Al Capone saying, after he’s caught, “Let me go and let me keep what I have. I am committed to paying taxes from now on.”

    After 12 years, (not) beginning with a duty refund on a duty-free vehicle, who integrity legislation for?

    What sort of integrity legislation can from a lack of integrity? Who will define conflict of interest? Who will define insider trading? Would the meaning of integrity be gleaned from the bible and moral values? Or from lawyers? Wait, I forgot, it is from now on so those questions are moot … unless the proported legislation is retroactive.

    Unless it is retroactive, it is carrot legislation and like Al Capone begging off.

  5. MIKE, you forgot the tunnel and 4 lane highway under cane garden, and the new city at the old airport site. The 30% pay increase for everyone promised in 2001. The airport oil terminal to be built in the sea at Argyle. The new large cruse ship berth. The new Kingstown hospital. The revival of the banana industry, the revival of the arrowroot industry. Revival of the coconut industry. The cross country road and the new international Olympic stadium at Diamond. The best agreement that the teachers ever had promised in 2004. Bigga Biggs getting his license back and the pay rise owed to all government workers.

    Is any of this in the style of the unfinished work of Maurice Bishop.

  6. SO PASS IT RETROACTIVELY, YOU ARE PRETTY GOOD AT THAT MODE OF LAW MAKING. MAKE IT LEGISLATION FROM 100 DAYS WHEN YOU FIRST CAME TO POWER IN 2001.

  7. MIKE, how about the Argyle airport coalition of the willing? who all turned out to be unwilling or none existent. How about Venezuela paying the Cubans wages at the airport? which turned out to be untrue. How about building a hospital next to an active volcano with no escape route, by sea or road. How about the bridge at Rabacca which is falling apart? How about all the Rabacca being mined and sold by the Taiwanese? How about all the holes in the roads, whole roads disappearing. How about the education revolution where 30% of school children leaving school unable to read and write. How about the failure to maintain all the government infrastructure? How about the multi millions borrowed for the airport when we were told when it would be debt free when finished. How about the Argyle airport equipment which we were told was being supplied free by the Venezuelans, only to buy and pay for 80% of it ourselves? How about Milton Cato hospital where my friends family have been forced to buy drugs from pharmacies and abroad, because none available at the hospital?

  8. Another promise was to reintroduce the boards in towns and villages. Can you imagine if you need a street light repaired; you have to go to town to get it done? The NDP should consider this move and let Vincentians know it would reintroduce town and village boards, so the people in the areas can have some control over their lives and environment.
    Folks won’t have to journey to Kingstown to see some official about cutting the grass on the roadside, or cleaning the beaches and other local issues; that can fall under their control. People in the Central Leeward area will welcome such a move – even ULP supporters. If you don’t believe me then do a survey and you would be surprise how many people were mad when ULP reneged on its promise.

  9. The problem is you need integrity to pass integrity legislation, personal and political.

    integrity
    n noun
    1 the quality of having strong moral principles.
    2 the state of being whole. The condition of being unified or sound in construction.

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