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Ministerial code of conduct caps gifts and gambling

President David Granger and members of his cabinet as well as junior ministers.

The Draft Code of Conduct for Ministers, Members of Parliament and Permanent Secretaries has been released and sees a strict cap on the value of gifts and gambling by officer bearers.

The document published on the Ministry of the Presidency’s website promises to enforce its regulations by meting out strict penalties for breaches – which included the firing of Ministers and officials.

The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to assist Ministers and Members of Parliament and Public office holders in the discharge of their obligations to their constituents and the public at large.

It provides guidance on the values – the moral qualities – that should govern the conduct of Ministers and Members in discharging their Parliamentary and Public duties and is also meant to reinforce public confidence in the way in which Ministers and public office holders perform those duties.

Among the issues noted in the document are conflict of interest situations which may arise when the “private interests” of the public office holder compete or conflict with the interests of the State.

“Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders should avoid using their official position or any transmitting any information made available to them in the course of their to benefit themselves, their relations or any other individuals with whom they are associated. They should avoid compromising themselves or their office and which may lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest.”

It states too that while entertainment is an acceptable form of business and social behaviour, officials and Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders must not accept lavish or frequent entertainment from persons with whom the Government has official dealings.

In addition, officials and staff are prohibited from disclosing any classified or proprietary information to anyone without prior authorisation by the Government. Officials and staff who have access to or are in control of such information should at all times provide adequate safeguards to prevent its abuse or misuse.

It states “Ministers, Members of Parliament and public office holders must not engage in frequent or excessive gambling with persons who have business dealings with the Government as well as among colleagues, particularly with subordinates.”

However  If on social occasions where refusal of gambling is considered unsociable, the amount of money involved should not be significant.

Any official or staff who violates any provision of the Code will be subject to disciplinary action, or termination of appointment/employment where warranted.