Georgetown, Guyana – (February 22, 2018) After more than a decade of inactivity, three of the members of the Integrity Commission were, today, administered the Oath of Office by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Ministry of the Presidency, paving the way for increased scrutiny and accountability of public officials under the Integrity Commission Act.
Taking the Oath today were former Magistrate and Commissioner of Title, Mr. Kumar Doraisami, who will serve as the Chairman of the Commission, Pandit Rabindranauth Persaud and Attorney-at-Law, Ms. Rosemary Benjamin-Noble. The fourth Commissioner, Ms. Thandai McAllister, is currently out of the jurisdiction and will be sworn in at a later date. The Chairman and other members are appointed by the President after consultation with the Opposition.
The Act provides for the appointment of a Chairman, not less than two and not more than four other members of the Commission, a Secretary to oversee the day-to-day work of the body, and other officers for the proper functioning of the Commission. The Chairman should be a person, who is or was qualified to be a Puisne Judge of the High Court, or any other fit and proper person and the other members should appear to the President as having experience and showing capacity in law, public administration, social service, finance or accountancy or any other discipline.
Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, who was present at the swearing in ceremony, in brief remarks, said that the ceremony is a historic moment for Guyana. He told the Commissioners that while there will be challenges as they work to execute their mandate, citizens’ right to accountability and good governance by public officials should be their guiding light.
While the Integrity Commission Act was assented to in 1997 and provides for the establishment of the Integrity Commission, it has not been in operation since 2006 after the Commission’s former Chairman, Bishop Randolph George, resigned.
In an invited comment, new Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Doraisami said that he looks forward to the new challenge. “I am satisfied that I can do the work. The Act needs some amendment but we will look at the enforcement of the Act because I don’t believe it was fully enforced before but looking at the combination of the persons we have on the Commission, I think we will be able to put the Act into Force,” he said.
Ms. Benjamin-Noble said that she is looking forward to bringing her experience to the Commission. “I have been an Attorney at Law since 1990 and I have served in various capacities so, therefore, I find… that it will be interesting and a good challenge because I will bring to bear all my experience throughout the years,” she said.
Mr. Doraisami confirmed that the Commission is ready to commence its work immediately.