PERMANENT Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Audrey Sewell, said the suggestion by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) that her office is not being properly consulted in the design and implementation of the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) is a misrepresentation of the issues.
Responding to OCG concerns about JEEP’s integrity this morning, Sewell said information being improperly circulated in the press arises from a memorandum to the minister, taken from the permanent secretary’s office by the team from the OCG, which was intended to further discuss the roll out, management of information flow and other aspects of the design of JEEP.
Having received the memorandum, she said, the minister directed the persons coordinating the projects of that agency to meet with the permanent secretary and the project director to work out the details of how they are to communicate and liaise with the ministry regarding the execution of projects.
“Against the background that this is a new project, it is expected that there would be teething pains and hiccups; the memorandum was seeking to ensure that these would be minimal,” she said.
“There have been meetings and the exchange of memoranda between the ministry and the OCG,” she said. “All questions raised by the OCG in relation to JEEP, including those that relate to design of the programme in a pre-emptory way, have been responded to on a timely basis.”
Sewell said the “dramatic” visit by the OCG and the police to the ministry implied suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of the ministry, and this is entirely without merit and foundation.
“JEEP is a policy instrument by Government in its infancy. It continues to benefit from the cut and thrust of discussion as well as the support of the full team of professionals at the ministry,” she said. “We anticipate an orderly and successful implementation of the programme in a manner that ensures that the public interest, national interest and that of taxpayers are protected.”
OCG questions integrity of JEEP