Persons in public life are required to file Declarations of Assets, Income and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interest by the deadline date May 31st, as stipulated by Section 11 (1) of the Integrity in Public Life Act (“the IPLA”):
(1) A person shall, within three months of becoming a person in public life, complete and file with the Commission in the prescribed form, a declaration of his income, assets and liabilities that exceed ten thousand dollars in value in respect of the previous year and, thereafter, on 31st May in each succeeding year that he is a person in public life, he shall file further declarations of his income, assets and liabilities
On Friday, November 10, 2023, the Integrity Commission published, in the Trinidad Express and the Trinidad Guardian, a list of four hundred and sixty-one (461) names of persons in public life who failed to file their declarations and statements of registrable interests. On Friday, November 17, 2023, the list of names of persons in public life failing to file their declarations and statements of registrable interests was gazetted pursuant to Section 11(6) of the IPLA:
(6) Where a person who is required to do so fails to file a declaration in accordance with this section or without reasonable cause, fails to furnish particulars in accordance with section 13 or fails to file the statement of registrable interests under section 14, the Commission shall publish such fact in the Gazette and at least one daily newspaper in circulation in Trinidad and Tobago.
Of these four hundred and sixty-one (461) persons, eighty-nine (89) thereafter voluntarily filed their Declarations of Assets, Income and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interest. The Commission is pleased with the attitude of persons in public life, as for the filing year 2022, around 70% of persons in public life have filed their Declarations of Assets, Income and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interest. This is a record high and testimony to the zero-tolerance approach to the non-filing of Declarations of Assets, Income and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interest.
In anticipation of ex parte proceedings, further warning was sent with the Notice of Intention to take ex parte action for Non-filing, which was published in the Trinidad Express and the Trinidad Guardian on November 29, 2023. Regrettably, there are still persons in public life who have failed to heed the warning to comply with the IPLA. This has led to the commencement of ex parte proceedings pursuant to Section 11(7) of the IPLA which states:
(7) “The Commission may, at any time after the publication referred to in section (6), make an ex parte application to the High Court for an order directing such person to comply with the Act and the Court may in addition to making such an order, impose such conditions as it thinks fit.”
The Commission has commenced the filing process, and on January 10th and 11th , 2024, it filed eighteen (18) ex parte applications with respect to persons whose names were published on Friday, November 10, 2023. These ex parte applications constitute requests for the High Court to order persons in public life to file their outstanding Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interests.
The Commission strongly recommends the voluntary filing of Declarations of Income, Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Registrable Interests, which would prevent persons in public life from being subject to these Court orders, and the requirement to pay costs.