Saturday, February 24, 2018

Don't change members of Integrity Commission

With the exception of its chairman, Ken Gordon, members of the Integrity Commission will demit office a few days before President George Maxwell Richards is succeeded by president-elect Anthony Carmona.

With respect to the existing act, one or more of the Integrity commissioners can either be replaced or be re-appointed, thus requiring Richards to evaluate the performance of the current commission and its members.

Since the Integrity Commission will likely be presiding over one or more existing or pending matters, the question will arise: should the present members continue their deliberations to a conclusion, or should new commissioners start all over again?

Under Section 4(4) of the Integrity in Public Life Act 2000 the President appoints "the chairman and other members of the Commission . . . after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition"; which I interpret as a discretionary mandate of the President. The tone of the Prime Minister's consultation to the President suggests the appointment of "new" commissioners. But is this warranted?

It is my view, however, that the Prime Minister's advice to President Richards "not to appoint" is inappropriate and unfortunate; before March 18 and assuming Richards and Carmona are on speaking terms, I would trust a Carmona/Richards tete-a-tete to yield a sensible outcome.

Michael J Williams

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