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Integrity Commission struggling to gain confidence of Jamaicans - RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll

Pollster Don Anderson
 
Two years after the Integrity Commission was established to combat corruption in government, it is struggling to gain the confidence of Jamaicans.
 
The latest RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll has revealed that just a little more than a third of Jamaicans have confidence in the commission.
 
The researcher polled 1,038 people between February 8 and February 18.
 
The Integrity Commission was established in February 2018 following the merger of the Integrity Commission, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, and the Office of the Contractor General.
 
Jamaicans were told to expect a paradigm shift in how the anti-corruption organisation operates.
 
However, pollster Don Anderson says most Jamaicans still have no confidence in the entity or have no opinion about it.
 
He thinks the Integrity Commission should be concerned, "especially 
against he background of all the corruption that apparently is taking place in this country." 
 
Mr. Anderson said 35 per cent of respondents felt that the Commission was doing a good job while 37 per cent of those who participated in the poll felt negatively about the role of the Integrity Commission.  
 
Another 27 per cent of respondents had no opinion about the work of the Commission. 
 
Mr. Anderson noted that the level of confidence, or the lack thereof, in the Integrity Commission continues a trend of mistrust among Jamaicans in public institutions and their handling of corruption.  
 
The Integrity Commission has come under scrutiny for delays in producing reports on investigations into Petrojam, how long it took to release a report on the controversial sale of the Rooms on the Beach property by the Urban Development Corporation, and its handling of  the publication of reports on the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader's statutory declarations.
 
Questions were also raised last year when former chairman, Justice Karl Harrison, and former acting director of corruption prosecutions, Dirk Harrison, resigned within days of each other. 
 
Publish financial declarations 
 
In the meantime, Jamaicans want full details of financial declarations made by politicians, senior civil servants and members of the security forces to be published.
 
At present, the Integrity Commission only reports on whether the declarations made are satisfactory.
 
However, the RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll found that 61 per cent of Jamaicans want the declarations to be made public for their own perusal. 
 
The poll found that only 27 per cent said the declarations should not be made public, while seven per cent did not know and five per cent were unsure.
 
Last year, the Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal called for a return to the publication of full reports by the Integrity Commission.
 
The concern stemmed from the Commission's report on the statutory declarations of legislators for 2017, which listed eight Members of  Parliament, including the prime minister, whose declarations had been examined but not cleared.
 
Leaders get little favour for filings  
 
The way Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition leader Dr. Peter Phillips handled their statutory filings with the Integrity Commission last year did not find favour with many respondents to the RJRGLEANER/Don Anderson poll. 
 
Mr. Anderson reported that there was no significant difference between the two as 35 cent of all persons interviewed said they were satisfied with how the Prime Minister filed his declarations while 31 per cent who said they were satisfied with the Leader of the Opposition's filings.   
 
Following weeks of pressure, the Integrity Commission in August last year gazetted a summary report on Mr. Holness's filings for 2018 showing he has assets of more than J$161 million.
 
A summary report of Dr. Phillips's declaration, released in the previous month, disclosed that the opposition leader, his wife, attorney Sandra Minott Phillips, and children declared assets and income totalling roughly J$185 million in 2018.
 
 
 
 


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