Bunting explains refusal to sign IC code of conduct

spokesman on national security Peter Bunting has explained his refusal to sign the Code of Conduct Leadership Commitment issued by the Integrity Commission.

In a letter to the leader of the Opposition Mark Golding, Bunting, while expressing his support for the Integrity Commission as an institution, insisted that he cannot sign the document because of the “flawed and misleading information contained in the Integrity Commission’s report regarding the grant of firearms permits on appeals, which has negatively impacted his reputation”.

Bunting expressed his disappointment and protest by stating that he would not sign the document with the Integrity Commission until the report is rectified.

The report listed several serious irregularities at the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), which occurred after Bunting’s term as minister of national security.

However, it mentioned two appeals that happened during his term, which he argues were reviewed and recommended by the Firearm Review Board, a distinguished panel of a former judge of the Court of Appeal, a former judge of the Supreme Court, and a leading King’s Counsel.

According to Bunting, the Integrity Commission’s report was critical of his decision to grant the two appeals while omitting the critical fact that he was acting on the recommendations of the Firearm Review Board and labelled this omission as “deliberate and inexcusable”.

He highlighted that the chairman of the Integrity Commission was serving as the chairman of the Firearm Review Board at the time the report was issued and for much of the period covered by the report.

Bunting said until the Integrity Commission corrects the incomplete and misleading impressions given in its report with respect to his role in the two appeals highlighted, he would limit his interactions with the commission to the minimum required by law.

Last November the Integrity Commission announced that it had formally written to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and asking them to officially subscribe to a Code of Conduct Leadership Commitment.

According to the Integrity Commission, Holness and Golding were being asked to commit themselves and their leadership team to the “Seven Principles of Public Life”.

These seven principles were listed by the commission as selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Since then Golding and some members of his shadow Cabinet have signed the code but the prime minister is yet to sign and it appears no member of his Cabinet has signed the code.