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PAAC wants Governor General to get Integrity Commission, MOCA to provide reports on corruption probes

Mikael Phillips and Dr. Wykeham McNeill
 
Members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) want the Governor General to intervene to force two investigative bodies carrying out long-awaited corruption probes to provide a report on the progress.
 
PAAC members Wednesday morning expressed frustration that probes being carried out by the Integrity Commission and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) are still not complete.
 
The investigations relate to corruption allegations in the Energy Ministry, Petrojam and the Caribbean Maritime University.
 
PAAC member Mikael Phillips said the situation is unacceptable,  therefore, the intervention of the Governor General is needed. 
 
"It is nearly two years with the Petrojam (probe) and we have not even seen a report tabled in Parliament. Where are these reports?" he questioned.  
 
Mr. Phillips also noted that the long promised parliamentary committee to oversee bodies such as the Integrity Commission is yet to be set up.
 
"We have had this problem for quite a while...of agencies and commissions that are creatures of this house, of this parliament, not reporting to any committee at all, and there is no oversight for them and they are not beyond the law and not beyond the reproach of this house," he lamented. 
 
He insisted MOCA and the Integrity Commission must be held accountable. 
 
It has also suggested that the solicitor general might need to get involved to provide clarity on the way forward.
 
No answer 
 
In the meantime, PAAC chairman Dr. Wykeham McNeill suggested the committee might never get an answer from the Integrity Commission or MOCA.
 
He reminded the committee that letters were sent to both entities about the outstanding reports, however, each wrote back with a general answer: "Our appearance before the parliamentary committee in the manner requested may be inconsistent with the provisions of the enabling statute," Dr. McNeill repeated. 
 
"The bottom line here is that it means that we would never get an answer to the problems that we're having and that these investigations may just never reach a conclusion," he suggested. 
 
Dr. McNeill proposed that the committee again write to MOCA and the Integrity Commission, inviting them to appear before taking any further steps.
  
Mining issues 
 
The PAAC is to also tackle issues in the Mining Ministry including the impending halt of production at the JISCO/Alpart plant in St. Elizabeth and the conflict over mining in the Cockpit Country. 
 
On September 10, Mining Minister Robert Montague announced the production shutdown at Alpart, which he said would allow for modernisation of the ageing plant amid a fall in alumina and aluminium prices.
 
Meanwhile, controversy over alleged mining by Noranda Bauxite in the Cockpit Country led to opposing sides demonstrating in the vicinity of Gordon House on Tuesday.
 
Noranda has denied it is mining in the protected area.


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