JAMAICA: House Speaker resigns after failing to give full declaration of her assets


 Speaker of the House and Member of Parliament for South Trelawny Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert has resigned from the posts amid mounting pressure in relation to the eight charges laid against her by the Integrity Commission (IC).

“Since the Integrity Commission has decided to charge me criminally for an omission, I have considered the damage this has done to my reputation and have decided to tender my resignation both as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Member of Parliament for South Trelawny, with immediate effect,” she said in a statement on Thursday. “I wish to state categorically that my decision is entirely voluntary, and not at the request of anyone. I also wish to state and emphasize that I remain a loyal and committed member and supporter of the Jamaica Labour Party, and more particularly to the Andrew Holness Administration. I will continue to render assistance in whatever way I can and I will always support my party.

“What has happened to me, could have happened to any other Member of Parliament, public servant, or civil servant. As a woman maintaining a family and as a Member of Parliament, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Managing Partner of a law firm, the toll that it has taken on me is immense,” she added.

The IC ruled that she be slapped with eight charges in relation to her statutory declarations over seven years.

The commission’s director of investigation, Kevon Stephenson, in a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, recommended that the report be referred to the prime minister “for him to take such disciplinary and/or administrative actions which both recognises the seriousness of Mrs Dalrymple-Philibert’s conduct” and to deter recurrence.

The ruling follows an investigation by the commission in relation to a motor vehicle that Dalrymple-Philibert had purchased through a concession afforded to legislators and which she failed to declare in her filings.

She said she has “nothing to hide.”

“As I stated in the House of Representative on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, I have nothing to hide, and I did not knowingly mislead the Integrity Commission, it was a genuine oversight. I have over the past two days read the Integrity Commission’s report detailing the circumstances of the omission of a motor vehicle from my statutory declaration and have taken note of the public sentiments on this issue. Nowhere in the entire report, has the Integrity Commission raised any question or concern about the source of funding of the vehicle which was purchased through a loan from Sagicor Bank,” she said.

“The vehicle was never sold or transferred to anyone in the past seven years, although there was nothing preventing me from doing so after the three-year mandatory restriction was lifted. I maintain to this day, that the omission of the vehicle was a genuine oversight on my part. There would have been no allegations against my name had I included the vehicle in my declaration, therefore, I had no motive to have deliberately omitted it,” Dalrymple-Philibert added.

Dalrymple-Philibert stated that she is looking forward to the matter going to trial.

“I look forward to the trial of the matter for which the Integrity Commission has ruled that I be charged, to be concluded in a court of law rather than a Court of Public Opinion,” she noted.

She has thanked the South Trelawny constituents for their support over the years.

“I must, without reservation, thank the people of South Trelawny for their unwavering support of me during this period, and for returning me as their Member of Parliament on four consecutive occasions. Their support and love have kept me strong through my political journey. However, the present circumstances are completely contrary to my own personal principles and beliefs which I have always lived by,” she said.

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