Letter of the Day | A giant fall for democracy – House Speaker must resign!
THE EDITOR, Madam:
The National Integrity Action (NIA), The Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal (JAMP) and the Advocates Network (AN) demand that the House Speaker immediately resign from her position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The events of Tuesday, September 19 in our Parliament should not have occurred.
It is undemocratic for the Speaker to preside over the hearing relating to a report about her conduct. She is the subject of the report from the Integrity Commission and the Director of Corruption Prosecution has ruled that she be charged with multiple offences committed between 2015 and 2021. We have noted that the Speaker has also decided that the report be sent to the Ethics Committee of which she is chairman. This is wrong.
There are precedents that persons being investigated step aside from their positions until the investigation are completed.
This happened in the cases of Minister Joseph Hibbert, Minister Kern Spencer and Minister Richard Azan, who stepped aside when they were under investigation or when charged for criminal offences. It is well known that many public officers and civil servants, including policemen and teachers, are suspended or interdicted when charged with a criminal offence. The same standard must apply to the House Speaker. This matter dramatises the urgent need for a code of conduct for parliamentarians.
Integrity must be a guiding principle for our politicians, they must set the example and do the right thing. Good governance demands it.
DANIELLE S. ARCHER
National Integrity Action (NIA)