Transparency and Integrity in Public Office
The Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences (DAAS), as a corporate citizen comprising many Dominicans at home and abroad, is very concerned about the current impasse arising out of an article in the Dominica Times captioned, "Million dollar assets, $5000 salary", published on August 30, 2007. The article is the result of a special investigation by the newspaper reporting that there are questions about properties acquired by PM Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit over the last few years, and asserting that these have not been revealed to the public as expected.
The issue has escalated to the point where suits of alleged libel and slander of the good name of the Prime Minister, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, have been filed against the Dominica Times and its Editor, Matt Peltier. We do not need this situation to escalate further.
DAAS is of the view that this situation will have far-reaching, negative consequences for the political and economic stability of the Commonwealth of Dominica in view of her heavy dependence on tourism. Dominica is just now recovering from a most crushing economic crisis and facing recent, catastrophic destruction of her agricultural base and infrastructure by hurricane Dean. This is the time, most assuredly, when unity and cooperation should prevail. DAAS exhorts the parties to resolve this issue privately and urgently. DAAS believes that this unfortunate situation could have been avoided if mechanisms were in place to regulate the public dealings of public officers. In particular:
The urgency to attend to these administrative omissions is very obvious. These considerations transcend the divisive politics, which have ensued. DAAS abhors the politicizing of issues, which impact adversely on the welfare of our people and nation and, therefore, calls for the immediate implementation of the Integrity in Public Office Act and the Integrity Commission to avoid unnecessary, future occurrences. These statutes are part of the framework of checks and balances that every nation must have to prevent anarchy and maintain civility.
Dr Clayton A. Shillingford
President, Dominica Academy of Arts & Sciences (www.da-academy.org).
IPO - Important Update
The Integrity Commission has now been implemented. The first Commissioner is Julian Johnson, Esq. Please click IPO Introduction to learn about its power and authority.