In a statement, today, Dr. Phillips said that it is true that the police and other state investigative agencies have direct control and responsibility for the operations. But, he said, the government remains accountable and is responsible for general policy direction and control as set out in Section 2(a) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Act and Section 5(a) of the Financial Investigations Division Act.
The opposition leader said his statement yesterday was not suggesting interference in the ongoing investigations. He said, however, that it is also the case that proper policy in all democratic societies require regular reporting and accountability to the general population.
Had Dr. Chang taken the time to examine the question honestly, he would know that it is a regular feature of police departments such as the Metropolitan Police Service (Scotland Yard) in London, or the New York City Police Department (NYPD), or the Royal Canadian Metro Police (RCMP) to provide updates. Indeed, in any one of these democratic jurisdictions, the police service authorities give regular updates as to the status of their investigations.
He said, the Jamaican population has a right to know if the police force or all other investigative agencies have abandoned the investigations and whether the public should maintain its expectations of arrests or persons being brought to book for the misuse of tax payer’s resources at CMU, Ministry of Education, Petrojam and NeSol.
If that is the case, the public should know why? For example, were there impediments to their investigations of technical or evidentiary nature, or otherwise? On the other hand, he said, if the authorities are still pursuing investigations, it would help public confidence to know what are time lines and when these investigations would be concluded.
The Opposition Leader reiterated that the Opposition was not seeking any operational details into the various investigations, but said it clearly had heightened concerns about the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability in light of recent attempts to make Cabinet documents exempt from the provisions of the Access to Information Act (ATI) 2002 for 70 years.
Dr Phillips said it is also noticeable that Dr. Chang has ignored the calls in relation to the Board of CMU and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), the regularization of the contracts for persons improperly appointed at CMU, and our concerns regarding the presence of the reinstated President at CMU.
“These are matters that fall squarely within the remit of the Cabinet. Action in these matters would give the public a clearer impression as to the Government’s intention to resist and penalize corrupt behaviour,” Dr Phillips said.
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