The PPP has formally set up an integrity commission to ensure that its members in public office, at all levels, “maintain the highest level of integrity in the performance of their duties,” General Secretary Clement Rohee has said.
“The commission will investigate allegations in relation to theft, bribery, forgery; further the commission is mandated to investigate misconduct by party members who engage in activities unbecoming of a good member including defamation and sexual harassment/misconduct,” Rohee said.
He said the establishment of the commission followed the 2013 PPP Congress held in Port Morant in August. The new Central Committee had held deliberations, “where it was affirmed that additional steps be taken to establish a mechanism, to address allegations of misconduct and reinforce party discipline at all levels,” he said.
He said the commission was to act as an internal monitoring mechanism for party members and that it would work to further enhance the anti-corruption committee, which was established in 2001 and led by Janet Jagan. Rohee’s reference to the anti-corruption committee seemed rather odd considering that it has apparently been defunct since soon after it was established; a party member was investigated and found guilty, but no disciplinary action was taken.
In July, former PPP/C member Ralph Ramkarran had spoken briefly about the lack of power the committee actually had. “In response to the growing cancer of corruption and public criticism, the PPP established an Anti-Corruption Committee shortly after the 2001 elections, led by Mrs Janet Jagan,” Ramkarran had written in his blog The Conversation Tree.
The committee’s first act was to investigate an allegation of corruption against a senior party organiser. “He was found guilty,” Ramkarran said. “The general secretary, Mr Donald Ramotar, now President, adamantly refused to dismiss him or to take any other disciplinary steps against him. Mrs Jagan refused to convene the Anti-Corruption Committee again until disciplinary steps were taken against the organiser. None was ever taken.”
Ramkarran alleged that since then the committee had not met and the PPP/C had never responded to public inquiry as to what had become of the anti-corruption committee.
Asked if the newly established commission would pronounce on allegations that during the PPP’s 30th congress various party members were lobbying against the election of certain candidates to the CC, including former president Bharrat Jagdeo, Rohee responded that the party was still investigating the matter.
“An investigation is still going on we are waiting for a full and comprehensive report following the investigation,” he said, but was vague on when it was expected to be completed.
Meanwhile, he said the new commission is made up of five longstanding party members, although he would only divulge two names: Dr Roger Luncheon, current head of the presidential secretariat and Clinton Colleymore, an advisor to the local government ministry. When asked for the remaining three names Rohee said it was the “prerogative” of the ruling party to reveal names or not. The commission will be responsible for reporting all findings to the party’s Executive Committee.