NIA, Advocates Network call for House speaker to go Loop Jamaica

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Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert

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The National Integrity Action (NIA) and the Advocates Network (AN) are jointly demanding that the House Speaker, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, promptly resign from her position as speaker.

In a joint statement on Wednesday evening, the two watchdog groups said Tuesday events in Parliament relative to Dalrymple-Philibert, “should not have occurred”.

In seeking to rationalise their position, the groups said: “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 (IC) and the Director of Corruption Prosecution has ruled that she be charged with multiple offences (allegedly) committed between 2015 and 2021.”

The groups went further: “We have noted that the speaker has also decided that the report be sent to the Ethics Committee (of Parliament), of which she is chairman. This is wrong.”

The statement further said “there are precedents that persons being investigated step aside from their positions until the investigations 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 (they were) charged for criminal offenses.”

The groups cited that it is well known that many public officers and civil servants, including policemen and teachers, are suspended or interdicted when they are charged with criminal offences.

“The same standard must apply to the House speaker. This matter dramatises the urgent need for a code of conduct for parliamentarians,” said the statement.

“Integrity must be a guiding principle for our politicians; they must set the example and do the right thing. Good governance demands it,” concluded the NIA/AN statement.

The House speaker has been referred for prosecution for not declaring a motor vehicle purchase amounting to $6 million in her annual statutory declarations to the Integrity Commission for a number of years after the acquisition of the vehicle. She has contended that it was an oversight, and not deliberate false declaration on her part.

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