AG supports code of conduct for MPs
A Code of Conduct for Ministers and Members of Parliament should be considered, Attorney General Mark Pettingill indicated yesterday.
Mr Pettingill told the media he was in favour of a code which would address such matters as “inciting a civil servant to disclose information.”
He had been asked whether it was appropriate, in hindsight, to instruct his Permanent Secretary to investigate a leak from his offices to former AG Kim Wilson.
He insisted it was appropriate despite it being a personnel issue.
“I don’t see that there’s a line being crossed there. It depends on how far it goes.
“If it came to the attention of a Minister that there’s a leak in his department, for that Minister to ask the question or even give the direction, that this should be looked at so the Minister feels comfortable, I see no line crossed there,” he said.
He blamed Ms Wilson for creating the issue when she asked a civil servant for information.
Asked whether his Government would be pursuing a code of conduct for MPs, he said: “Certainly now in light of these types of things, I think it should be looked at.
“Codes of conduct and even offences in other jurisdictions include things like inciting a civil servant to disclose information, or inciting a civil servant to undermine the Civil Service.
“Certainly when it comes to whistle-blowers, I think that is a good thing.”
A civil servant was disciplined after it was found she provided information to Ms Wilson, her former boss, even though she was not authorised to do so.
The Progressive Labour Party accused Mr Pettingill of conducting a witch hunt over the matter — which he denied.
But a letter written by the Permanent Secretary clearly states that the PS was “directed” by the AG to conduct the investigation into the leak.
Mr Pettingill’s remarks came during a press conference in which he announced new security procedures to enter the Dame Lois Browne Evans building.
As of Monday, people entering the Dame Lois Browne Evans building will have to go through metal detectors, he said.
Currently, only those who want to access Magistrates’ Court on the first floor are screened by the metal detectors.
But Mr Pettingill told the media that the detectors will be moved to the ground floor to bring the security up to international standards.
Judicial officers and practising lawyers will bypass the screening. They’ll have access to the building through the southern door using swipe cards and will be required to produce a picture ID.
Non judicial staff who work in the building will also bypass the screening process and will also be required to produce an ID for verification.