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EDITORIAL: No excuse for failing to disclose

“THERE are a lot of persons who missed.”

That’s the assessment of the Public Disclosure Chairman, Bishop Victor Cooper, with regards to the parliamentarians who failed to carry out their legal duty and file their disclosures on time.

There should be no excuses. It is not a new law. It should not be a surprise. It came into effect in 1977.

Every cycle, there are stories in the newspapers about who has disclosed and who has not.

Previously, Bishop Cooper said that some new Members of Parliament were unaware of the legal requirement to publicly disclose – but even if somehow people who aspired to be in politics missed the regular stories about public disclosures, press secretary Clint Watson shot that flimsy excuse down when he said that all Members of Parliament were made aware of the requirement during training at the start of the new administration’s term.

So to clarify, they should have been aware, and even if they weren’t aware, they were explicitly told.

Mr Watson does not deserve too much grace, however, as he went on to dismiss the legal requirement as a “simple oversight” on the part of those who did not file, suggesting that they were “so consumed with whatever they were doing” that they didn’t meet the deadline or forgot about it.

That’s not good enough. The truth is it does not matter if they were aware, if they forgot, if it was an oversight – there is a legal deadline and they should have to meet it. The rest of us are not afforded the luxury of being able to pick and choose which laws we obey. None of us is given leeway if our car insurance is out of date when we are stopped by police, or if we fail to file our tax information on time, and so on.

FNM chairman Dr Duane Sands said yesterday it appears that the rules did not apply to all under the Davis administration. It is encouraging to hear Dr Sands speak up on the issue, although we would urge him to go one step further and clarify whether all FNMs have met their legal obligations in this matter. There are still too many Parliamentarians whose disclosure status is unknown.

In fact, every single person who failed to disclose should be named - we should know who treats the law as an inconvenience.

We would agree with Dr Sands, however, on the next step. He said: “The law should be upheld and whatever consequences arise from not adhering to the law, those consequences should apply.”

The law should be upheld. That should not be so hard. Parliamentarians are in the position of making the laws that govern us all – the very least they should do is obey them.

Exuma deaths

The slow pace at which the details of the investigation into the deaths of three tourists in Exuma are being revealed is frustrating. Yesterday, sources told The Tribune it was confirmed that carbon monoxide was to blame for the deaths of Michael and Robbie Phillips and Vincent Paul Chiarella. The official confirmation has not yet been issued, however.

Sandals, understandably, is waiting for the official statement, although many will be eager to know what steps Sandals has taken to investigate internally too.

Police Commissioner Paul Rolle yesterday said to “wait for the pathologist for cause of death”.

And so we wait. This was a tragedy that must be thoroughly investigated, not least of all to ensure there can be no repeat. We need to understand exactly what went wrong that led to the deaths of three people. We need to be in a position to know if legislation is required to prevent another such tragedy. And the families need to know how this could happen, when visitors came to paradise for a holiday, only for it to end in the most horrible way.

If the pace is slow, the answers must be thorough – and it must be clear to everyone that nothing is being hidden from view.

Comments

sheeprunner12 1 month ago

Death by 1000 cuts...... That's the PLP right now

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tribanon 1 month ago

There are two very good reasons why so many of our corrupt and elitist elected officials do not give a rat's arse about their public financial disclosure requirements:

1) Their D - minus education makes them clueless how to go about preparing a personal net worth statement (yet they're expected to understand something about our country's finances, LOL); and

2) They know they will never have to pay a serious fine or spend even a day jail or prison for their non-compliance with the law (yet the poor mother who steals food from the grocery store to feed her starving children ends up being imprisoned).

For decades The Tribune has wasted time and space covering this issue without crying out for the law to be amended to impose suspension of parliamentary privileges, severe fines and/or serious prison time on recalcitrant and repeat offenders.

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