The main issue everywhere is that any kind of loophole in a country’s justice system can terribly affect a lot of people. The Justice Department and the Integrity Commission are bound by several laws which prevent them from making certain comments in public. While this may not seem like a big issue to the people, the problem remains that every move or decision made by the Commission is generally criticized wildly by the press. People tend to accept these accusations at face value. Since the Commission cannot comment or justify their actions; their side of the story remains untold.
Retired Justice, Mr. Seymour Panton, who is also a member of the Integrity Commission was quoted as saying that there were a lot of confidentiality clauses in place, which forbid them from talking about their current cases. Due to this, a lot of misinformation generally floats around about various situations. His outlook on this matter is that an amendment should be proposed to the Integrity Commission Act, which will allow them to talk about the entities concerned, in public.
The Public Opinion
While this seems to be the version of things from the Commission’s point of view, some of the public and some legislators do not want their data or information to be published. They want the confidentiality clauses to be kept intact. A vote seems to have occurred, and the majority appears to be in favour of protecting the public servants. It looks like a decision to repeal or uphold the non-disclosure of information until the details are tabled, will take time.
With people, especially the Integrity Commission asking for a review of the law, it may happen sooner than expected. Currently, there is no way for them to substantiate their actions. This does indeed put them under a lot of pressure as well as in a vulnerable position. Mr. Panton also admitted in an interview that there were weak areas in the legislation which disallowed the committee from speaking up or opening up about their numerous cases. It seems that under the former Contractor General Act, there was a provision for some amount of disclosure to be made to the public.
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