KINGSTON, JULY 9, 2018 - The uneasy calm between the Government and the Opposition may shortly be disturbed as the Opposition is insisting that Science and Technology Minister Dr. Andrew Wheatley be removerd from the Cabinet over the Petrojam scandal.
Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips warned the government at a press conference earlier today that it will be left no choice but tol review its collaboration with the government if the Prime Minister fails to act.
He says failure to act could also affect matters such as the Vale Royal talks that resumed in April this year after a long period of inactivity.
The Peoples National Party President charged that by failing to hold Wheatley accountable for the alleged corruption, nepotism and cronyism uncovered at Petrojam, the prime minister failed to act in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and, as such, has brought his office into disrepute.
"By failing to hold Minister Wheatley accountable, the prime minister is also creating a crisis of governance and normalising the corruption that is becoming rampant in various departments of government," Phillips said.
"...I expect good sense to prevail and I expect the Prime Minister to conform with the requirements of the constitution and the expectations of our political traditions," the Opposition Leader told the news conference at the People's National Party (PNP) headquarters.
He said by failing to hold Dr. Wheatley accountable, the Prime Minister is also creating a crisis of governance and normalising corruption that is becoming rampant in various departments of government.
Phillips said that the prime minister's decision to relieve Wheatley of the energy portfolio while leaving him with Cabinet responsibility for the other areas of the ministry raises more questions than answers.
The opposition leader said the Constitution requires the head of Government to hold ministers accountable, not only for policy but for the "general direction and control ... "
Dr. Phillips said Ministry Paper 19/2000, which addresses the code of conduct of ministers, made it clear that "holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office"