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Jan 12, 2017

Clean slate: Integrity Commission chair says no fines for old violations

Marilyn Williams

You may remember the parliamentarians from the People’s United Party visiting the office of the Integrity Commission on September nineteenth, National Service Day, to submit their declarations, although no members had been named at that time. In doing so, they avoided a three-thousand dollar fine handed to persons in public life – that is, members of the House, Senate, city and town councils – and other persons in public office accruing from late and unfiled declarations under Section nineteen, sub-section two of the Prevention of Corruption Act. However, the smaller political parties have consistently pointed to that as a means of revenue for the Government. According to Commission chairperson Marilyn Williams, those affected by the Act are now obligated to report and abide by all its provisions, but past transgressions may be given slack.

 

Marilyn Williams, Chair, Integrity Commission

“We’re a democratic country and there’s a process we all have to follow. Yes, there’s a deadline, but again, the Act provides that if you don’t meet the deadline, you can ask the Commission and the Commission can grant you an extension. So there can’t be anybody out there who is subject to any fines at this point, because there was no Integrity Commission before the first of January and technically, before today, to issue an extension. That’s the way I would deal with that at this point. Based on what I recall from having read the Act a couple of times, we don’t fine people for not meeting the deadline; the Act in fact though does allow the Commission to extend the time. I would have to say that legally, if in fact we have given an extension and that person does not meet the deadline, then yes there are steps that can be taken. Just realize that we don’t press charges; if we feel that some misbehaviour or non-compliance on the part of anyone who is covered under the Act and who has not complied, then we write up a report and then that would be forwarded to the D.P.P.’s office.”

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