by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has introduced Good Governance Transformative Laws to monitor the actions taken by public servants, through the activation of the amended Integrity in Public Life Act 2023.
Beginning on Monday, July 21, 2023, specified public officials will file declarations of their assets, liabilities and income to the Integrity Commission for the first time,” said Attorney General- Garth Wilkin in a social media post.
Any person who was appointed as a public official prior to April 22, 2023, is required to file an initial declaration with the Integrity Commission on or before July 31, 2023. However, if appointed on or after April 22, 2023, that public official is expected to file an initial declaration within 100 days of his/ her appointment. With the exception of death, the declaration continues for a period of two succeeding calendar years after a person ceases their appointment as a public official.
The Integrity in Public Life Declaration requires not only information of the Public Official but also the Public Official’s Spouse and the Public Official’s child/ children. The Public official’s spouse means that the duo are married or have been living within a common law relationship for a period of five years before the filing of the declaration.
A Public Official’s child includes stepchild, adopted child or child born out of wedlock who is under the age of 18 and also if the child is between the age of 18- 25, unmarried, attending a recognized learning institution and is fully supported by the Public official.
It is mandatory that the Public official declare land title documents, vehicle ownership documents, copies of insurance policies or certificates, bank statements containing the account holder’s name and at least two government issued identification documents.
Noteworthy facts from the policy include, individuals are not required to declare income earned within the period prior to becoming a public official. A public official’s banking information should include local and foreign based accounts. Cash or any other property in excess of EC $25,000 must be declared. Information about investment or business ventures from which financial returns are received or expected should be stated and valuables held in safety deposit boxes or personal safes by declarant, spouse and children should also be stated.
The Integrity in Public Life Declaration Form can be collected from the Integrity Commission Office located on the top floor of the Delisle Walwyn Building on Liverpool Row, Basseterre St. Kitts. Contact Numbers are 1-869-466-6436, 1-869-466-6915 ext 303 or email: email@example.com.
The public officials identified are:
Representatives and Senators in the National Assembly
Speaker and Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly
Representatives and Senators in the Nevis Island Assembly
President of the Nevis Island Assembly
Clerk of the National Assembly
Members of the Constituency Boundaries Commission
Supervisor of Elections
Leader of the Opposition
Ministers in Cabinet
Ministers in the Nevis Island Assembly
Senior Legal Officer in the Attorney General’s Office
Director and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions
Director of Audit
Public Service Commissioners
Members of the Public Service Board of Appeal
Police Service Commissioners
Registrars and Deputy Registrars of the High Court
Registrars and Deputy Registrars of Land
Head of the Civil Service
Chief Personnel Officer of the Civil Service
Permanent Secretaries of the Civil Service
Assistant Secretaries at or above the level of grade K40
Comptroller of Inland Revenue
Head of the Central Purchasing Unit
Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners of Police
Director of Public Works
Head of the Citizen By Investment Unit
Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller of Customs
Chairpersons, Deputy Chairpersons, Managing Directors, Chief Executive Officers and General Managers of Government Interest Corporations, Statutory Corporations and Statutory Bodies.
Local Government Ministers and Public Officials have come under scrutiny and pressure from concerned citizens and residents who have candidly identified corruptive practices as one of the most corrosive issues for many years. The concerns raised by varying fractions of society is that some public officials are wasting public resources and are contributing to the discontent, political polarisation and economic and social inequalities we see in the country. Citizens and residents have made repeated calls for local Governments to be transparent and responsive and to implement policies that will hold public officials accountable for any corrupt practices.