March 4th and 5th have been set aside for members of Parliament to disclose their personal assets held in or outside Grenada to the Integrity Commission headed by retired high court judge, Monica Joseph.
Members of the elected House of Representative will be the first to declare their assets on March 4th and followed one day later by members of the Senate.
The declaration of assets is in keeping with regulations contained in the Integrity in Public Life Act, which was passed in parliament in August 2013.
The New Today was informed that circulars have already been handed out to members of parliament informing them of the scheduled date to make their declarations and what is required of them in disclosing their assets.
Under the act, a total of 33 categories of civil servants are scheduled to declare their assets.
These includes members of the Commission, both Houses of Parliament, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as Parliamentary Secretaries, Secretary to the Cabinet, Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police, all Police Officers, Commissioner of Prisons and all prison officers.
Others who are mandated to make declarations include the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and all his employees, Director of Public Prosecutions and Comptroller of Customs, Deputy Comptroller of Inland Revenue and all custom officers.
THE NEW TODAY understands that in all approximately 15,000 public officials are expected to declare their assets before the Integrity Commission..
The Integrity in Public Life Act (No.24 of 2013) was established to ensure integrity in pubic life, to obtain declaration of assets, liabilities, income and interest in relation to property of persons in public life, to give effect to the provisions of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is expected to be among the first to declare his assets.
Last year, Dr. Mitchell said he was ready to declare his personal assets despite his wife, Marietta Mitchell’s dissatisfaction with the process.
The Prime Minister and his wife are known to be the owners of a multi-million dollar apartment block of buildings in Brooklyn, New York.
Speculation is also rife that Dr. Mitchell might have other assets in Grenada including the family home at Happy Hill in St. George’s.
Dr Mitchell told reporters in the past, he believes that declaring his assets is necessary despite reservations by his wife.
“I’m the one in the politics so I have to face the heat,” he said.
During the campaign for the February 19, 2013 General Election, Prime Minister Mitchell told supporters of the New National Party (NNP) at a rally held on the Westerhall Playing Field that based on the act, all elected officials will have to make full disclosure of their assets, what they acquired over the years, how they acquired it and what they are leaving office with.
He warned then that failure to implement the act under the former Congress government would result in him publicly declaring his assets.
“I told them (Congress) that if they do not move quickly enough, I was personally going to call a press conference and declare my assets to the press of the country. I am not going to force any Cabinet member to follow suit, that’s a personal decision,” Dr. Mitchell also told reporters.
While public officers will for the first time have to declare their assets, the disclosures will not be open for media scrutiny.
“All declarations filed with the Commission and the records of the Commission in respect of these declarations are secret and confidential and shall not be made public, save and except where a particular declaration or record is required to be produced by an Order of the Court for the purpose of, or in connection with any court proceedings or inquiry in respect of a declaration made pursuant to the provisions of this Act or the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chapter 252A”, the integrity act read in part.
Former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Eunice Sandy David has been appointed to serve as Facilitator/Office Manager of the Integrity Commission.
Apart from Justice Joseph, the other members of the Commission are attorney-at-law, Anande Trotman-Joseph, a representative of Prime Minister Mitchell who will serve as Deputy Chairman, as well as retired Labour Commissioner, Robert Robinson (representative of ex-Prime Minister Tillman Thomas), Bertie Hill (representing the Evangelical Churches), barrister-at-law, Daniella Williams-Mitchell, accountant Rupert Agostini, and Magistrate Oforiwa Augustine representing the Grenada Conference of Churches.