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There will be no whitewashing of corruption scandals, PNP tells Holness

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica –The People’s National Party (PNP) has accused Prime Minister Andrew Holness of attempting to score political points, using the latest developments in the Ruel Reid/CMU corruption scandal to extricate himself from “the thickening web of maladministration and corruption that has engulfed his administration”.

“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,” PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson questioned in a statement today.

According to Robinson, recent statements by the Prime Minister are most alarming for their failure to recognise 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 had labelled a “corruption enabling mechanism” and documented that several Cabinet Ministers were less than candid in their depositions.

Robinson added that the Prime Minister has also failed to acknowledge the scandals and wasteful spending at Petrojam, Petroleum Corporation Jamaica, 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, Robinson said in his statement.

The PNP General Secretary said that 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, Robinson said is the government’s continuing delay in naming the oversight committee for the National Integrity Commission, after two years.

Robinson argued that 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.

He added that 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,” Robinson said.


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