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JAMAICA | PNP tells Holness: No whitewashing of corruption scandals

Featured PNP General Secretary, Member of Parliament Julian Robinson PNP General Secretary, Member of Parliament Julian Robinson
KINGSTON, Jamaica. October 15, 2019: The People’s National Party (PNP) has repudiated PM Andrew Holness’ attempt to score political points, using the latest developments in the Ruel Reid/CMU Corruption Scandal to extricate himself from the thickening web of what it calls "mal-administration and corruption" that has engulfed his administration.

PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson, said the recent statement by the prime minister is most alarming for its failure to recognize the degrading of the principles of good governance that has overtaken his administration on account of the multiple scandals, beginning with the $600 million debushing programme, which the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) had labeled a “corruption enabling mechanism” and documented that several Cabinet Ministers were less than candid in their depositions. 

The Prime Minister has also failed to acknowledge the scandals and wasteful spending at Petrojam, Petroleum Corporation Jamaica (PCJ), NESoL, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and the National Education Trust (NET).

The situation at the Urban Development Corporation has been papered over, with no one being sanctioned, and there is still not yet a full explanation of the Room On The Beach sale and the giving away of taxpayer’s money, which was cited in another Contractor General’s Report as showing evidence of possible ministerial interference.

“While the Prime Minister is busy trying to whitewash the role of his administration in the cancer of corruption, he needs to tell the public at what point did he discover that his former Education Minister, Ruel Reid was under criminal investigation and what did he do at that time; and can the Prime Minister say if he only found out about Reid’s investigation when the matter was raised by the Leader of the Opposition at a press conference”, Mr. Robinson asked.

The PNP General Secretary said, the Prime Minister needs to be reminded of the government’s efforts to stop the Parliamentary Opposition from chairing committees, a measure that was put in place as an anti-corruption safeguard. Of signal reference, Mr. Robinson said is the government’s continuing delay in naming the oversight committee for the National Integrity Commission, after two years.

Mr. Robinson said past PNP administrations were not pretenders when they ensured that the anti-corruption agencies such as Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), the National Integrity Commission and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) were established along with the requisite legislation and amendments.

Mr. Robinson reminded that the National Integrity Commission Act had its genesis in the Integrity (Parliamentary Members) Act, the Corruption Prevention Act of 2000, both passed by PNP Administrations and the Contractor General’s Act passed by the JLP in 1986. He said the Financial Investigations Division of the Ministry of Finance was established in 2002 and MOCA in August 2014, both by PNP governments.

He also said it was the last PNP government which passed amendments to the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), which the Governor General signed into law on February 15, 2016, to facilitate campaign finance reform.

“For the Prime Minister to claim these actions as proof of the JLP anti-corruption stance and label the PNP as pretenders, speaks volumes about his inability to face the facts and present an honest plan to the Jamaican people, who are now very concerned about the integrity of political leadership”, Mr. Robinson said.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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