'A vulgar abuse of Parliament'
Meadows fumes after House fails to table report clearing his name
Former Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) Deputy Chairman Dennis Meadows said his reputation took a serious blow while an Integrity Commission (IC) report clearing him from accusations of wrongdoing remained untabled for over a year and half. “I...
Former Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) Deputy Chairman Dennis Meadows said his reputation took a serious blow while an Integrity Commission (IC) report clearing him from accusations of wrongdoing remained untabled for over a year and half.
“I suffered irreparable reputational damage while a report existed which clearly exonerated me. My dear wife and family were traumatised during the controversy. Some questions need to be asked of the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate and the Clerk,” said Meadows.
In March 2022, director of investigations at the Integrity Commission (IC), Kevon Stephenson, referred Meadows to IC Director of Corruption Prosecutions Keisha Prince-Kameka, for her to determine whether the former FLA director’s approval of a firearm licence for a family member amounted to an explicit act of nepotism.
Stephenson argued in his report, which was tabled in Parliament in March 2022, that, as a public servant, Meadows advanced a private interest that resulted in a benefit to a family member.
Meadows wrote to Prince-Kameka on August 3, 2023 seeking information on whether she had made a ruling on the matter.
In a letter dated September 4, 2023, Prince-Kameka told Meadows that the IC had submitted her ruling on the matter on February 22, 2022 to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Marisa Dalrymple Philibert; President of the Senate Tom Tavares-Finson, and Clerk to the Houses, Valrie Curtis.
In her ruling, Prince-Kameka said: “On careful assessment of the matter and the evidential material provided, it has been determined that no viable criminal charges can be laid.”
Meadows, in response to questions from The Gleaner yesterday, said, “I was shocked to learn that the director of corruption prosecution submitted her report to Parliament as far back as February 22, 2022, essentially the same time the substantive FLA report was tabled in Parliament.
“It begs the inescapable question, why the director’s ruling was not tabled at the same time.
“This Government has abused and weaponised the Parliament against its detractors. It’s a vulgar abuse of the Parliament. You recall they used the said Parliament to launch an attack on the very Integrity Commission because they failed to table its ruling on the Westcon report implicating the prime minister.”
On February 14, 2023, the IC referred a report implicating Prime Minister Andrew Holness in an alleged conflict of interest to Prince-Kameka, after it concluded that he might have influenced the awarding of government contracts to a company of a business associate.
The following day, a report from the director of corruption prosecution at the IC was tabled in Parliament stating that no charges would be preferred against the prime minister.
However, Meadows is arguing that, in his case, the report that exonerated him was apparently sent to Parliament at the same time, but was not tabled.
“It’s my considered view that the Speaker, the Clerk to the Houses and the President need to tell me and the public what caused [the report] to be kept off the table of Parliament,” Meadows said.
The Gleaner sought comments from Parliament on whether Prince-Kameka’s ruling regarding Meadows was tabled.
Last evening, the Parliament’s communications team acknowledged receipt of the request, stating, “We will check our records and respond accordingly.”
Meadows, who resigned from the governing Jamaica Labour Party in March 2022 following what he described as a toxic relationship, joined the People’s National Party the following October and is now caretaker for Trelawny North.