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JAMAICA | Opposition demands answers on expandion of Petrojam Board

Kingston, Jamaica, September 20, 2019: The People’s National Party’s (PNP), Shadow Minister of Mining and Energy,  Phillip Paulwell is calling on the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology,  Fayval Williams, to immediately explain why the Petrojam Board of Directors has been expanded without any public announcement.

In a statement,  Mr. Paulwell, said by way of a cabinet decision, dated August 26, 2019 and communicated to the company on September 2, 2019, the Minister expanded the Board from its original membership by four persons. The new directors include Mr. Robert Clarke, Miss Alecia Bish, Mr. Edwardo Mendl and Mr.  Amilkar Mata.

Mr. Paulwell said the cabinet decision did not give any background on the new members added, but he has been informed that, at least two of them, reside overseas, as was the case with the former chairman, Mr. Perceval Bahado-Singh, who resigned in the wake of the recent Petrojam scandal.

He said the Minister should tell the country if Petrojam was again paying travel and other expenses for these directors in contravention of new rules announced by the Prime Minister a year ago.

The PNP spokesman said the Energy Minister should also give details on the current size and composition of the full Petrojam board and whether any non-Jamaican interests are represented. He said it is curious that while the government was actively engaged in winding down the operations of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and its subsidiaries, the Minister was bloating up the Petrojam Board.

Mr. Paulwell said he is reminding Minister Williams that the Opposition wants a forensic audit of the PCJ before closing it down and transferring its functions to the Ministry.  He said in the public’s interest, the Minister is obligated to present a fulsome statement on the PCJ and the way forward in the interest of transparency.

This, he said, was necessary as several questions remained about corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the group of companies.

He further expressed shock at the announcement this morning by the Chairman of the Public Sector Transformation Committee (PSTOC), Mr. Danny Roberts, that neither his committee nor the Public Sector Transformation Unit of the Ministry of Finance was aware of nor was involved in the decision to close PCJ.

Mr. Paulwell said this revelation is worrisome and contradicts the Minister’s statement to Parliament on Tuesday.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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