Prime Minister Andrew Holness this morning (July 31) met with representatives of the Umbrella Group of Churches, the Private Sector Organisation (PSOJ), the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA) and National Integrity Action (NIA), following a letter from the group raising concerns on a range of governance matters.
The Prime Minister met with the representatives from the various sectors for approximately three hours at the Office of the Prime Minister to discuss issues of public trust, corruption, accountability and the governance framework.
The Prime Minister addressed all points raised in the letter in an open, frank and inclusive manner, which generated robust discussion.
Prime Minister Holness reassured members of the group of his Administration’s commitment to decisively address corruption. He noted that inefficiency breeds corruption and pledged his continued commitment to strategically create an efficient and accountable Government.
He said the Government is also committed to re-build public trust.
The Prime Minister noted that his Administration has ensured there is no interference with independent investigative bodies such as the Integrity Commission, the Auditor General’s Office and Major Organised Crime Agency (MOCA).
Going forward, all present agreed to:
- Do their part to ensure the administration of Government works efficiently, transparently and accountably;
- Explore mechanisms for the private sector to deliver on their commitment to work to strengthen accountability within the private sector;
- Collaborate to ensure relevant codes, regulations and laws re public sector governance are implemented, enforced, compiled and published;
- Continue training of public sector leaders including ministers, board chairman and board members
- Ensure that the investigative Agencies (MOCA, Integrity Commission) are given adequate budgets, while noting that they all received their requested budgets for fiscal year 2018/19.
The Prime Minister agreed to make public, the Terms of Reference of the committee for strategic review of the operations of PetroJam and to share it with the Parliamentary Opposition prior to release. The Prime Minister also committed the Government to make available online a compendium of laws, codes, and guidelines.The Groups committed themselves to support the Government’s efforts to create efficiency and reduce corruption in the public sector and to also support public education programmes on accountability.
The meeting ended on a postive note, with renewed hope for timely action.
The Government Team:
Prime Minister Holness
Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, MP, Minister of National Security
Dr. Hon. Nigel Clarke,MP, Minister of Finance and the Public Service
Mrs Marlene Malahoo Forte, QC, MP, Attorney General
Ambassador the Hon. Douglas Saunders, OJ, Cabinet Secretary
Mrs. Audrey Sewell, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister
The Representative Group:
Bishop Neville Owens, Jamaica Council of Churches
Rev. Dr. Peter Garth, Jamaica Council of Churches
Rev. Merlyn Hyde Riley, Jamaica Council of Churches
Dr. Patricia Holness, Jamaica Council of Churches
Overseer Cassel Dunkley, Jamaica Council of Churches
Prof. Trevor Munroe, National Integrity Action
Dr. Patrice Charles Freeman, National Integrity Action
Jamie Ann Chevannes, National Integrity Action
Gavin Myres, National Integrity Action
Mr. Metry Seaga, Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association
Gary Butch Hendrickson, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica
Jennifer McDonald, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica
Larry Watson, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce