Mps Breaking Rules ‘Can’T Expect Citizens Not To Break The Law’

— FORMER Cabinet Minister Loftus Roker called on sitting members of Parliament to comply with public disclosure laws.

Legislators who fail to adhere to their own rules should not expect an ordinary citizen not to break the law, Mr Roker said.

"Crime in the Bahamas is considered to be out of control. It has to be out of control when leaders (who) pass the law, then ignore the law and expect the lil' fella on the street to obey the law.

"How many parliamentarians have obeyed the law regarding the Public Disclosure Act to this day? And if they haven't, why don't they have the courage to repeal that law if they decide that they don't want to obey the law. If not, they in breach of the law just like the lil' hungry boy who steals the guinep," said Mr Roker, a former government minister in the Pindling administration, yesterday.

"The Public Disclosures Act is not being adhered to by members of Parliament."

Under the Public Disclosure Act – before the first day of March each year – all senators and members of the House of Assembly must declare their income, assets and liabilities, as well as those of their spouses and children for the previous year.

By law this information should be published in a national gazette.

The disclosures were last published in November 2010 and only contained information up to the end of 2007.

Yesterday it was not clear how many members of Parliament have complied with the Public Disclosure Act.

A Public Disclosure Commission, chaired by Oswald Isaacs, is charged with ensuring compliance with the Act.

Messages left for Mr Isaacs were not returned yesterday.

The Tribune was told Mr Isaacs would not have the information yet because it is still being processed within the Cabinet Office.

Cabinet Secretary Anita Bernard said she did not have the information on hand yesterday and could not reveal any details on how many politicians had submitted records before the data is published in a gazette.

In February 2010, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he was among the group of politicians who had not complied with the law on yearly public disclosures.

". . . The Public Disclosures Act is not being adhered to by members of Parliament," Mr Ingraham said last year.

He said he was in the process of preparing the necessary documents and explained that his last public disclosure was in 2007 when he ran for the North Abaco constituency in the last general election.

He later made a public apology for his delinquency.


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