President enjoys “free pass” for failing to declare with Integrity Commission

first_img– PPP want assets of all MPs to be made public – Opposition LeaderEver since President David Granger ascended to office in 2015, he has failed to submit statements to the Integrity Commission, and yet he continues to enjoy a “free pass” with this breach.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoThis is according to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who told the media that when he missed the deadline for submitting his statement of declaration to the Integrity Commission by some two to three weeks, a plethora of heavy criticisms were levelled against him, but President Granger seems to be exempted from both the laws and criticisms.“To my surprise, I saw (that) the President has not even submitted, and four years as President. This is his fifth year in office, and he never submitted once his statement to the Integrity Commission, but he gets a free pass,” Jagdeo said.Jagdeo posited that the PPP, inclusive of himself, have nothing to hide and are still willing to publicly declare all assets. He explained that this was supported by the Motion that his Party had previously presented in the National Assembly, but it was the APNU+AFC coalition that voted against the public knowing what each Parliamentarian owned/owns as part of safeguarding the assets that belong to current Government Ministers.President David GrangerHowever, the Opposition Leader says he is willing to publicly declare all of his assets, but only if the President is mandated to do the same.“He (President Granger) got a free pass until two days ago. Everybody thought or assumed that he had declared, I was getting hammered as Opposition Leader, I am not in Government even and he got a free pass. If I make mine public, all day long you focus on that, but then you give the Government a free pass. Ask him, as President, why they voted against a motion, (because) I believe that we should do that, make public everything,” Jagdeo emphasised.The Opposition Leader added that as part of the PPP’s Manifesto for the future, his Party is presently looking at a detailed set of programmes that would strengthen Government institutions, and particularly those to fight corruption in all forms, inclusive of corruption by MPs.“Given what has happened now, there is an absolute need to not only strengthen the institutions that fight corruption, but also create new ones to ensure that there are swift penalties for transgressions of rules. So we will be launching a package of measures to do that,” he said.Earlier this year, the Integrity Commission flagged a number of public officials for failing to make their declarations, and President David Granger is one of the defaulters, having breached the stipulated deadline of May 20, 2019.The agency recently informed that all public officials have been required to make these submissions, in compliance with the Integrity Commission Act.On the sidelines of an event on Wednesday, the President explained that he has not yet submitted his declaration, but has made contact with the Commission. “I’m in touch with the Integrity Commission. I have written to them. I have not submitted all of my declarations. It is taking some time, but I am in touch with them, and the Commission has heard from me,” he stated.Reports have surfaced that some Cabinet members are also lagging in regard to their submissions, but President Granger has assured that there is a commitment by all Cabinet members to comply. As of now, he displayed concerns over this matter, but could not account for the tardiness on the part of errant Ministers.“I am concerned, and as I pointed out, my own declaration is being prepared and I do not have a reason why others have not been prepared. I’ve had some challenges over that period of time, but I’m actually working on it, and the Commission is aware of my interest in ensuring that they are submitted as quickly as possible,” the Head of State told media operatives.He added, “As far as the Cabinet is concerned, the general rule is that we should all comply. It is just a matter of time. Some of the details may have taken some members time (to compile). I cannot say if all of them are compliant, but that is the policy of Cabinet: that every Minister should comply.”Just a few days ago, the Integrity Commission issued a notice which requested persons to make their declarations. The document stated, “The Integrity Commission hereby notifies all specified public officers of its inventory update. This updating process relates to the updates of the 2019 Inventory. The inventory concerns specific public officers required to submit declarations. This is in accordance (with) Schedule 1 of the Integrity Commission Act, No 20 of 1997”.In addition, that missive noted that all heads of public officers are required to submit to the Commission the names, designations, physical addresses, email addresses and contact numbers of public officers.These documents, the Commission said, can be sent to its Secretariat on Church Road and Fifth Avenue, Subryanville, Georgetown, and also via email.The Integrity Commission was established with the aim of improving the public’s confidence in the integrity of persons in public office by ensuring that they submit their declarations in compliance with the Integrity Commission Act. However, over the years, the Commission has had to publish the names of delinquent public officials in an effort to have them make their declarations.last_img

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