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Dr. Wykeham McNeil, Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, November 30, 2017: Opposition Spokesman on Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeill is calling on Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett to clarify concerns that have been raised in the public sphere about the recently concluded UNWTO conference in Montego Bay, St. James woefully underperformed based on stated expectations.

In order to satisfy public curiosity, Dr. McNeill is asking Minister Bartlett to answer a number of questions. These questions, according to Dr. McNeill, if answered simply, should put to rest the comments that have been swirling around. His questions are:


  1. Is it true that a mere 252 overseas delegates attended instead of the 1000 as was originally touted? And that the only other overseas attendees were the 110 paid and sponsored presenters and media giving a total of only 362 persons from abroad?


  1. Is it true that only a handful of Ministers came, instead of the over 100 promised and that they were mostly from the Caribbean and Latin American region?


  1. And finally, is it true that in excess of the 125 million dollars allocated for the staging of this conference; did the Minister return to Cabinet for additional funds for other related expenses and overruns. If so can he indicate the total cost to the Jamaican people?


From as far back as March this year, Dr. McNeill had raised questions about the extravagant cost of hosting the event.  He is concerned that value for money would not have been realised if in fact less than a third of the promised attendees showed up. It is understood that additional monies had to be found to offset the over expenditure of the original budget.

 “I believe more information and clarity is required so we can determine whether we can justify the expenditure and assure the country that the benefits to accrue will be worth it,” McNeill said.


Donna Scott Mottley, Press Releases, Sen Donna Scott-Mottley

Kingston, Jamaica, November 29, 2017: Opposition Spokesman on Justice, Senator Donna Scott-Mottley supports the call by the Jamaica Bar Association for the establishment of a new merit based process for the selection of Jamaica’s Next Chief Justice.


In order to get the best and most appropriate person for this very important position, we are recommending that the post should be advertised in Jamaica and overseas.


In keeping with principle of judicial independence, it is expected that all applicants must meet the basic criteria of integrity, experience, and scholarship.  It is of prime importance not only for the protection of the citizen but also for the retention of public confidence in the Justice System. Consequently, the process for the selection of Jamaica’s Chief Justice ought to be at an arm’s length from both the Executive and Legislative branches of government.


Recommended Procedure

The Commonwealth Principles of Accountability and Transparency of the Relationship between the Three Branches of Government, compels the Government of Jamaica to adopt the suggestion that a new procedure for Jamaica’s next Chief Justice should be established immediately.  This can be done without altering the Constitutional requirement that the Governor General shall appoint the Chief Justice upon the advice of the Prime Minister following consultation with Leader of the Opposition.


Senator Scott-Mottley points out that in other jurisdictions such as England and Wales, it was found necessary to ensure that the Executive did not possess the sole power to effect the appointment of the Chief Justice. In England and Wales, the appointment of the Lord Chief Justice is made by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor. This decision is subject to the recommendation of a special independent panel chaired by the Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission and subject to England’s Constitutional Reform Act 2005 as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013.  This Act prescribes the Selection Criteria & Procedure of the Judicial Appointments Commission.


In addition, (as per Section 10(3) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 of England & Wales) the selection exercise for the Lord Chief Justice is open to all applicants who satisfy the judicial appointment eligibility condition or those who were judges of England’s Supreme Court, Court of Appeal or High Court.


It is therefore proposed that the recommendations by the Jamaica Bar Association be immediately undertaken and that the following actions be executed by the Government of Jamaica:

  1. The Government of Jamaica should advertise the post of Chief Justice of Jamaica.
  2. The Government of Jamaica establish an Independent Judicial Appointments Commission  to vet and make recommendations of three applicants for consideration to be appointed to the office of Chief Justice;
  3. That the vacancy for Chief Justice be advertised to the public for the submission of applications to the relevant body by January 15, 2018.

Dr.Peter Phillips, Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, November 30, 2017: Revelations of gross misuse of public funds and breaches of government procurement guidelines at yesterday’s meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of House of Representatives (PAAC) raise serious and profound issues of poor accountability and probity within the government, which the Prime Minister must immediately address.

In a statement this afternoon, the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, said in light of the serious nature of these issues, the Prime Minister must urgently call for a forensic audit of the administration and payments made by the National Security Ministry under the $426.9m contract with O’Brien’s Car Sales and Rental and account to the country for the $213 million which was reported to have already been paid to the company as a deposit for the provision of 200 used vehicles for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The Opposition Leader is also seeking the intervention of the Contractor General and the Auditor General in light of what appears to be clear breaches of the government procurement guidelines, the repeated failure of the Minister of National Security to answer questions put to him in Parliament and his gross dereliction of his duties as a Minister. This has led to failed policies which are causing the police to face an increase in violent crime and murder without adequate resources to address it.

The Opposition Leader said the Prime Minister should immediately relieve the Minister of his duties, if the country is to have any confidence in the government’s determination and ability to fight crime.

 Dr. Phillips said Minister Montague cannot escape culpability, as the used car decision was his personal initiative and at the time of announcement was aimed at providing the JCF with a ratio of four pre-owned vehicles to one new vehicle. “The country has now paid out $213 million to a contractor and yet has only thirty (30) used Toyota Axio cars, which do not meet JCF specifications, to show for it. Where has the money gone?” The Opposition Leader queries.

Dr. Phillips said it is not acceptable for the Ministry of Finance to absorb additional costs and break its own procurement guidelines and the terms of the supply contract by providing waivers for General Consumption Tax (GCT), Special Consumption Tax (SCT) as well as for shipping and customs clearance delays charges, which were to be borne by the supplier.

It is clear that this contract has gone sour and it appears that the contractor does not have the ability to deliver. It is the taxpayers of Jamaica who will get the bitter end of the stick as millions of taxpayers’ dollars have not been accounted for and the police are without cars while innocent Jamaicans are shot and killed on the streets and in their homes at the rate of more than one every four hours. The Opposition is not going to stand for this.

Dr. Phillips said the contract must be immediately terminated and the government use the emergency procurement procedures to get a reputable supplier to provide the much-needed vehicles to improve police mobility.


Angela Brown Burke, Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 30, 2017: The People’s National Party (PNP) welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Local Government, the Hon. Desmond McKenzie to rename the present infirmaries as adult residential care facilities. There has been general agreement by all local government advocates that this is an appropriate development. We note that the Minister has indicated the Government’s approval of amendments to the Poor Relief Act to abolish the Board of Supervision, and transfer those functions to the Ministry of Local Government. 


We remind the Minister that a central role of local authorities continues to be that of protecting the poor and vulnerable; that the municipal corporations are still the institutions best placed to do so, given their experience and expertise developed over the years.


The PNP will be monitoring this exercise and paying keen attention to the allocation of resources and physical improvement of these facilities, especially since we are convinced that a name change is not sufficient to provide the level of care required to residents in these facilities. 


The major issue will remain one of financial and other resources to provide an appropriate level of care. Whether these institutions are under the direct supervision of the Ministry or the local authority, there is no doubt that the Government of Jamaica must provide an effective social safety net to cushion the negative impact of the anaemiceconomic growth of the Jamaican economy. 


The PNP calls on all Mayors and Councillors as well as civil society to help monitor the standard of care, physical environment, and programmes of reintegration, which will be provided by these residential care facilities.