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Mikael Phillips, Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, December 9, 2017: The decision by the Andrew Holness cabinet to withdraw the moratorium granted to O’brien’s International Car Sales and Rental services to supply used cars to the police force, further deepens the scandalous saga and blights any possibility of the police having access to the vehicles any time soon.

In a statement to the media, the People’s National Party (PNP) said the cabinet’s decision to instruct the Ministry of National Security to formally write the General Accident Insurance Co. Ltd. to request payment of the Performance Bond is a new twist as the Minister announced in Parliament on Tuesday that his Ministry had already called the bond.  Contrary to Cabinet expectations that payment of the Bond will be expedited to enable the Ministry of National Security to use the Bonds proceeds to pay all necessary taxes and duties, the process will now be entangled in legal argument. So far from expediting the clearance of the vehicles, a court battle now looms.

 The PNP says the cabinet should not pretend that the decision to call the bond and use the funds to pay the duties is a victory, it is rather a clear indication that this contractor was not capable of meeting the terms stipulated in the agreement.

It is clear evidence that the security Ministry had done no due diligence examination of the supplier and that this contractor was selected for reasons outside of what is required under the established government procurement guidelines.

Prime Minister Holness and his cabinet also took a decision to amend the guidelines to included fit and proper criteria for suppliers’ of national security purchases. Surely, the cabinet must know that this is already provided for in the National Contracts Commission Registration process. Clause 3 of the Approved Suppliers Agreement further provides for a four year disqualification of suppliers who deliberately provide the NCC with false information. The Cabinet now needs to state whether O’brien’s International Car Sales and Rental is NCC registered and whether one of the directors declared that he was a drug offence deportee.

The Party says this cabinet cannot be trusted to act in the interest of the people of Jamaica and the fumbles and blunders of the Minister of National Security in securing basic and critical resources as motor vehicles for the police force in an environment of rampant murder, is a clear demonstration of the government’s ineptitude.

“This government is rewarding the incompetence of the leadership of the Ministry of National Security. First it awarded a major contract without proper due diligence, then sat idly by as the contractor breached the terms of the contract over and over again and now it is taking the taxpayer for a ride. Andrew Holness and his cabinet are under estimating the intelligence of the Jamaican people.“ Public Accounts and Appropriations Committee of House of Parliament (PAAC) member Mikael Phillips said.

He said based on what was outlined to the PAAC meeting two weeks ago, the contract with O’brien’s stipulates that the contractor would be responsible for any taxes and duties. This cabinet decision to call the bond and withdraw the moratorium granted by the Minister of Finance signal that the government does not take the issue of police mobility seriously, despite the skyrocketing murder rate.

Mr. Phillips says the contract must be rescinded and all the funds returned to the people of Jamaica. He said the matter must be treated with seriousness as the country cannot afford to be left in a bind and with a debt it need not have incurred.

In the meantime, he is urging government to act quickly in increasing the mobility of the force, but do so within the framework of the government procurement guidelines. Consequently, the Minister must now update the country on where will the 119 vehicles promised to the police before Christmas come from, since it must now be clear that the 66 on the wharf will not be available.

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Mikael Phillips, Press Releases

The People’s National Party is expressing its solidarity and deepest sympathy with the people of Montego Bay as they recover from a devastating calamity.  The Party notes the many residents, students and business owners who have been affected by this disaster, especially so close to the Christmas and exam season.  The Party is calling on residents to not spare efforts in ensuring their safety and hopes that normalcy will return soon. 

 

The Party notes that the Government has, over the last year, spent an unprecedented sum of money on drain cleaning and bushing of roads.  It is therefore puzzling as to why this large spend has not resulted in better mitigation of flooding, as happened in Montego Bay yesterday, and recently in Portland.  Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Mikael Phillips said that “there has to be more accountability in how state resources are spent.  We can’t be increasing the spending on these issues yet when it is put to the test we have these devastations.  The public needs to be assured that the allocated sums are spent for the purposes they were allocated and that there is value for the money spent.”  Mr Phillips is calling on the Government to take disaster mitigation seriously and put measures in place to deal with these increasing occurrences.  He notes that a comprehensive programme and policy is what is needed, and not a piecemeal effort. 

 

The Party President, Dr Peter Phillips is reiterating his call for restoration and rehabilitation efforts, in situations like this, to be non-political and inclusive so that the widest cross-section of affected persons can be assisted.  He says the Party stands ready to assist in any way the Government sees fit. 

 

A team from the Party, led by Dr Wykeham McNeill, Mikael Phillips and Dr Angela Brown-Burke, will tour the flood ravaged areas of Montego Bay and make some recommendations as to how we move forward to ensure the lives of the people are brought back to as normal as possible. 

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Mikael Phillips, Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 7, 2017: The People’s National Party is extremely concerned at the escalating public protests and road blocks over the deteriorating road infrastructure in many parishes and the apparent lack of response by the government and local authorities with responsibility for the road network. 

In a statement this afternoon, the party Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Mikael Phillips said, the wanton lack of maintenance of the nation’s road network by the Andrew Holness led-administration has now resulted in a series of public protests in St. Thomas, Clarendon, Westmoreland, St. James and St. Catherine with life-threatening consequences. The absence of any ongoing road maintenance programme, coupled with the heavy rains that have been pelting the island over the past months have combined to ensure greater hardship for Jamaicans in their communities all over the island.

The PNP Spokesman said, it is an attitude of callousness on the part of government to ignore months of protest by the people, demanding that their roads be repaired.  The continuous non-response is causing increasing frustration and daily escalation of demonstrations as no one speaks to the people, or has even acknowledged their plight, including the obvious danger some of these roads pose to life and limb.  

The spokesman said, he is very concerned as large sections of the nation’s road network have been left to waste away while the public coffers are being raided for political endeavors and there are claims of lack of money to address these roads.  This is also happening against reports that the roadway to the Prime Minister’s unoccupied residence in Beverly Hills is being expanded to improve access.

Mr. Phillips said, the people of St. Thomas and St. James have been crying out in daily protests to no avail. In those parishes, in particular, the protests have impacted negatively on schools and economic activities as workers and students were not able to pass the road blocks.

He said, the government in its callous approach is failing to make the link between maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure and the lack of growth, especially in the farming and industrial sectors. Instead, they continue to dole out road repairs in a partisan manner, robbing taxpayers of the right to good and proper services from the national agencies. 

Against this background, the party is sounding an early warning about an imminent massive road work project which is to be undertaken shortly.  Based on preliminary reports, the design and allocation are similar to the previous programme, which ensured that constituencies held by Jamaica Labour Party members enjoyed a disproportionate share of the allocation. 

The PNP calls on the Holness government to immediately do what is necessary to address the poor state of the country’s road infrastructure and ensure that the allocation for repairs to the road network is devoid of partisanship. The situation has impacted too many of our people across the island, who chose to live, work and raise their families here.

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