Prime Minister Patrick Manning has confirmed that the existence of the Integrity Commission is being reviewed. He admitted that the Integrity Commission "had not worked well" in T&T. "That is a matter that we have to completely review. We have to completely rethink this question of the Integrity Commission because it is becoming increasingly more difficult to sit on boards because of that arrangement," he said. Manning said what was worse was that "we are now discovering it has become very difficult for people to sit on the Integrity Commission itself."
Manning was speaking during a PNM public meeting at Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard, Diego Martin, Monday night. Members of the Integrity Commission, appointed on May 1, resigned within a week of their appointment. The first to resign within hours of his appointment was Justice Zainool Khan, who claimed President George Maxwell Richards had reneged on a promise to make him deputy chairman of the body which received the declarations of assets of public officials in the country. "That arrangement has not worked well and we would like to hear the views of the population on how that should now be handled," Manning stressed.
On another matter, Manning said Government was proposing that the Constitution be amended to allow permanent secretaries to hire, discipline and promote public servants instead of the service commissions. Manning said this was one of the measures proposed in the Draft Working Document on the Constitution Reform. He said the existing service commissions were unable to discipline public servants."To get around that we are going to delegate these functions from the service commissions to the permanent secretaries in the various ministries," Manning said.
He said, "There is going to be a Human Resource Unit in each ministry, which will employ people, which would discipline people, which will promote people in accordance with established principles and the service commissions will now become an appellate body." Manning said with respect to the Teaching Service Commission, Government proposed that a new agency be set up to recruit, train, promote, discipline and fire teachers. Similarly, he said any aggrieved teacher can appeal to the Teaching Service Commission for redress.