By E. Hartman Reckord
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Jamaicans are being encouraged to report acts of corruption or improper conduct within their respective organisations, under the Protected Disclosures Act, 2011.
“The Protected Disclosures Act, 2011, is here to protect you. In the event that you have identified any improper conduct within your entity and you decide to speak up, you will be protected against occupational detriment such as victimization,” senior protected disclosures officer, information and complaints division, Integrity Commission (IC), Tanesha Fagan, said; speaking during a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ at the Agency’s head office in Kingston, on Thursday, April 27.
On January 25, 2021, by way of the Jamaica Gazette, the Integrity Commission was named the Designated Authority by the Minister of Justice, to execute the functions pursuant to the Protected Disclosures Act, 2011. The Commission can receive and record complaints or any allegation involving acts of corruption, impropriety or irregularity with respect to the award and implementation of a government contract.
A disclosure by an employee can relate to a conduct that is likely to result in the breakdown of justice, threaten the health or safety of a person or one that is likely to damage the environment.
Persons can also make reports about conduct that show gross mismanagement, impropriety or misconduct in the execution of activities involving the use of public funds.
Fagan said the rights of an employee making a protected disclosure will be safeguarded.
“You will not be dismissed from work. You will not be denied of promotion. Just ensure that you make the report in good faith and in the public’s interest,” she stated.
Fagan pointed out that among the benefits of having a Protected Disclosures legislation is “to foster a healthy and happy environment. It promotes openness, it promotes accountability. You will feel safe and secure in your environment, and you will have that autonomy to make reports,” she said.
Senior complaints review officer, Alecia Darby, who also spoke, said the Commission is desirous of seeing Jamaica transition to the place of choice to live, work and raise families. To achieve this, she said, citizens must take matters of corruption seriously; and encouraged the public to provide sufficient information when they make reports, so that action can be taken on those complaints.
“We are committed to you to ensure that the information that you have shared with us remains confidential. We ask you to have the confidence in us to look into matters of complaints and to ensure that, by your small deed, you are helping Jamaica to become that place to live, work and raise families,” she added.
The Protected Disclosures Act was legislated to facilitate and encourage, in a responsible manner, disclosures of improper conduct in the public interest.