Letter to the Editor: Pay your fine or serve your time

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Robert “Bobby” Lopez

Pay your fine or serve your time… or both

Dear Media House,

June 7th completes 90 days since the double election of March 7th.  It also marks the deadline for disclosure by all persons elected to office on that day, including members of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

I congratulate Wally Nunez Jr., the only PUP councillor in San Pedro Town council who has submitted his disclosure within the allotted time.  He has set the example and shown the electorate that he will do the right thing.  The Prevention of Corruption Act 2007, Part 3 section 10 (1) states: “a person in public life shall, in accordance with this act, file with the commission, a “sworn” (section 10 (4) (in front of a Magistrate, JP, Commissioner or Registrar of the Supreme Court) declaration of assets, income and liabilities.”  Section 2 (b) further states: “in the case of a person who becomes a person in public life, within three months of his becoming a person in public life, in respect of his (including spouse and children) assets, income and liabilities for the year ended on the previous 31stDecember.”

We, the electorate, must further remind them that failure to do so, according to section 19. 1 (a) “A person who, without reasonable cause, fails to file with the Commission, a declaration which he is required to file in accordance with the provisions of this Act commits a first offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not less than three thousand dollars ($3,000.00). On a second or subsequent offense to a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) or to imprisonment for a period of one year or to both fine and imprisonment.”

Section 19. 2 further states that “Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, every person who without reasonable cause (a) fails to file a declaration in accordance with this Act…..(b) has not filed his declaration in the previous year (re-elected persons) in accordance with the provisions of this Act is liable to pay the commission an administrative fine of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for EACH DAY that the declaration remains outstanding.”

I call on COLA to lead the charge in making sure our elected persons obey this law.  If they don’t then let us take out a citizens’ class action suit and force them to pay their fine, serve their time or both.  Once found guilty then we can demand a recall election for each person that refuses to obey the law.  Only the people can stop corruption.

Bobby Lopez, Concerned Citizen

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