Government’s Commitment to Root Out Corruption Remains Firm

Governor-General, Sir Kenneth Hall has assured that the Government’s commitment to rooting out corruption remains firm and irrevocable.

In his 2008/09 Throne Speech at Gordon House, today (March 27), he informed that a Bill will be presented early in the new legislative year, to replace the existing Corruption Prevention Act, with new and stronger provisions, including the establishment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute those engaging in corrupt practices.

Sir Kenneth also said that the government will be tough on crime and corruption, and on the abuse of human rights.

“This year Parliament will be asked to enact the new Charter of Rights which has long been in gestation. It will require a two-thirds majority in each House of Parliament and it is hoped that consensus will be found on this important measure to define and safeguard the rights of every Jamaican citizen,” he said.

He added that Parliament will also be asked to enact legislation to establish an independent Authority to investigate allegations of abuse by members of the security forces and that another Bill will be introduced to provide for the appointment of a Special Coroner to conduct speedy inquests in instances where persons die in circumstances in which an agent of the state is involved.

As it relates to Constitutional Reform, Sir Kenneth noted that discussions on a broad package of reforms have been ongoing for more than a decade and that efforts will be made this year to go forward with those issues on which agreement has been reached, including those amendments that, notwithstanding agreement in Parliament, are required to be put to the people by way of a referendum.

He also said further steps will be taken to improve the quality of governance, pointing to the report on libel and slander laws, which are to be tabled and approval sought for the necessary amendments, which will “ensure that public exposure can serve as an effective weapon against corruption and abuse of authority, without compromising the right of individuals to protection of their reputation.”

The Throne Speech marks the beginning of the new legislative year, which commences on April 1.