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Legislation Spells Out Acts of Corruption

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Contact: Janelle Charles

Thursday, March 14, 2002 - The St. Lucia House of Assembly has passed for the first time legislation that identifies what constitute acts of corruption under the Integrity in Public Life Act, when it met Tuesday.

The Act says a person commits an act of corruption if he or she solicits or accepts directly or indirectly any article or money or benefit, being a gift, favour, promise or vantage to him or herself, or another person, for doing any act, or omitting to do any act, in the performance of his or her functions or causing any person to do so or omit to do anything.

It is also an act of corruption, among others, if a public person allows his or her private interests to conflict with his or her public duties, or to improperly influence his or her conduct in the performance in his or her public duties.

In presenting the Bill for the consideration of members of the House of Assembly Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony says this legislation is a statement to the public that corruption will not be tolerated adding, fighting corruption is not just an issue for politicians. “A society is as corrupted as the people of the society itself. Corruption is not peculiar to politicians and that has been the history of major cases sweeping not only the Caribbean but also elsewhere. When for example employees cheat employers, when for example they steal openly, then that constitutes criminal acts of behaviour that are equally unacceptable. The point I want to make clear Mr. Speaker, if we want to cleanse our society of corruption we must also cleanse our people of the temptation to turn to corruption to get what they otherwise cannot get,” the Prime Minister told members of the House of Assembly.

Under the Integrity In Public Life Act any persons in public life who commits an act of corruption is liable upon summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding five years. In the case of a second offence a fine not exceeding three hundred thousand dollars, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years. On conviction and indictment for a first corruption offence, a person could face a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand dollar or to imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding one million dollars and for imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years.

Persons in public life include members of the Senate and the House of the Assembly, Ministers of Government, Parliamentary Secretaries, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Technical Officers in Government Ministries and Heads of Departments and the Cabinet Secretary. “Every person in public life should constantly keep this legislation at his or her reference, because what one is doing here is to prescribe for the future modes of behaviour for our public officials,” the Prime Minister said.

Several members of the House of Assembly contributed to the debate on the Integrity in Public Life Bill including the leader of the Opposition Marius Wilson

At Tuesday sitting of the House, the Immigration Amendment Bill, the Immigration Ordinance Amendment, both of which facilities the free movement of OECS national were passed. The Evidence Bill was also passed at Tuesday’s sitting.


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