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JAMAICA | Holness needs to stand on the side of Justice says PNP

  • Written by wiredja.com
  • Published in Politics
Former Education Minister Ruel Reid Former Education Minister Ruel Reid
KINGSTON, Jamaica, February 26, 2020: The People's National Party (PNP) says for the first time Prime Minister Andrew Holness is publicly admitting that he was aware of the grave nature of the allegations against former Education Minister Ruel Reid in regards to the far-reaching and unconscionable plunder of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).

In a media statement, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson said, the records show that Prime Minister Holness only asked for Reid’s resignation after PNP president Dr Peter Phillips raised the issue at a press conference months after it was widely known across the society.

The PNP said it was alarming that Prime Minister Holness was aware of the allegations against  the former Education Minister and all he did after months of delay, was to have a ‘conversation’ with Reid and ‘allow’ him to resign.  Reference is made to a Gleaner report indicating that the Prime Minister had to ask Reid to resign based on the enormity and high levels of corruption which threatened to ‘compromise Jamaica’s entire system of government'.

"The Party is reminding the Prime Minister that he has an obligation, as a citizen and as a national leader, to cooperate with the law enforcement bodies to bring about justice, especially in the cases of corruption at the very core of his government," Robinson said.

The PNP is urging  the Prime Minister to assure the nation that he shared the information in his possession with the Financial Investigation Division(FID) and the prosecutors, especially in light of Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck’s  statement in October last year following the arrest of Reid and others. The Justice Minister had described the actions of the detectives as “salacious” and warned them to be careful about the way in which they gather and present evidence before the court.

The PNP is calling on Prime Minister Holness to tell the nation when he first learnt of the criminal investigations into the cancer of corruption at the CMU and the leading role of Reid, his longtime confidante. The Prime Minister must also state what actions he took when he was first made aware of this information, which he now says could have compromised the entire governance structure of the country.

The Prime Minister has continued to demonstrate a high level of tolerance for corruption and the plundering of the public purse by his general lack of responsiveness while serious issues threaten the very stability of the nation.

"As in the case of Ruel Reid, for many months, the Prime Minister Holness delayed his response to the corruption cancer at PetroJam involving former Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley. He finally responded long after the matter had already spilled and was overflowing in the public domain. He was forced to act only after significant pressure from civil society and the Opposition," Robinson lamented.

This lack of responsiveness was also evident with the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) Report on the corruption enabling $800 million debushing programme. For months the Prime Minister ignored questions on the matter tabled by Shadow Minister of Technology Julian Robinson in the Parliament.

As chairman of the Cabinet to which he appointed Reid, Wheatley and others and having acknowledged the threat that corruption poses to good governance, order and growth, the continued failure to respond to the issues smack of a willingness to continue the cover up.

The PNP says the Prime Minister needs to assure the country that there is full cooperation from himself and his government and he needs to give the assurance that he is willing to stand on the side of justice.

Anything less, the PNP says, makes the Prime Minister, through his own declarations, an accomplice.

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  • Countries: Jamaica