21 Jul JLP’S TRAIL OF CORRUPTION AND ABUSE OF AUTHORITY TALKING POINTS
It has been only a little over a year since the JLP came into power but have left a trail of corruption and abuse of authority never before seen in Jamaica’s history. The Prime Minister, himself, seems to be part of the problem and is either unable or unwilling to curb the corruption and abuse of power.
Here are some examples of how corrupt this Andrew Holness led JLP Government is:
- Bushing Programme
The Contractor General has labeled this programme a “corruption enabling mechanism” and he goes further to say that there is money unaccounted for. The Contractor goes further to call Shahine Robinson, Daryl Vaz, Robert Montague liars, after information they provided turned out to be false. It is clear that the $800 million bushing programme was a vote-buying scam.
- CUG Abuse (Audley Shaw’s $8 million Phone Bill)
Finance Minister, Audley Shaw has racked up expenditure of $8.3 million in telephone charges. For the month of October 2016, alone, Minister Shaw’s CUG charges were $4.22 million. The claim that he was only made aware of the extent of the bill when the Access to Information (ATI) request was brought to his attention, is a lie and speaks to the arrogance and objectionable disregard for taxpayers, and the flagrant assault on the public purse. We know that there is a mechanism in the Ministry of Finance that reminds everyone who has been given access to the CUG facility of their charges on a monthly basis.
Since the matter has been made public, the Prime Minister has ordered an audit and instructed changes. However, Minister Shaw himself revealed on a radio programme that Prime Minister Holness knew of the excessive phone charges since March of this year. So, why was the Prime Minister expressing surprise and shock when the matter was revealed in the public space?
- JLP Spends $120 Million on Motor Vehicles
To put the issue in context, the Government is claiming that they had to buy vehicles because the previous PNP Administration bought the vehicles that were already there. However, note that Dr. Peter Phillips, Damion Crawford, Lisa Hanna, among others, returned their vehicles. But it has been revealed that Audley Shaw, Ed Bartlett, Babsy Grange, all got new vehicles, though there were vehicles assigned to them; so the Government’s argument is flawed. Additionally, there is a cap of US $35,000 on vehicles to be bought; however, of the vehicles bought all of them exceed the cap.
- Mombasa Dairy-Grass Project
‘Mendacious’, as used by the OCG, is perhaps too mild a word to describe the actions of members of the Holness Administration when we consider the matter of Karl Samuda and the Mombasa dairy-grass project. The Minister awarded himself a benefit from the project that was intended for small dairy farmers and when concerns were raised, he fired the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dairy Board because the CEO did not follow his instructions, which were contrary to Government policy.
- Procurement of Police Vehicle
The JLP Government, through Robert Montague awarded a contract to a car dealer without fit and proper verification to purchase used cars for the police force. Further to this, the police force is yet to get the full complement of vehicles, having received only 30 of the 200 vehicles paid for.
The Prime Minister has overruled NEPA, the Agency established by the PNP to preserve our environment, and granted permission for sand-mining to take place at Duncan’s Bay Beach. Who is the beneficiary? A former JLP Member of Parliament. The Beach is a nesting ground for turtles and has been known to have an abundance of fish.
- Ministry of Culture Payment Without Work
At the start of the Sectoral Debate, it was revealed that a payment of $15 million was made to a contractor by the Ministry of Culture before any work was done.
- Danville Walker
This government continues to ignore the call to rescind the appointment of Danville Walker, who was convicted of breaching the Contractor General’s Act in our court of law, yet he remains on public boards, in particular the board of a sensitive border protection agency as the nation’s Custom.
The JLP appointed Dr. Carey Wallace to head the Tourism Enhancement Fund who owes the Fund $6 million which he claims he did not remember.
- Tax Break
Leading up to the 2016 general elections, Holness promised income tax refund of $1.5 million to Jamaicans without any consequent tax increase, but not only did this not materialise, but the massive property tax increases and other new taxes serve to pay a portion of this promise refund to fewer than 130,000 of 1,300,000 working Jamaicans.
On the day of his inauguration Andrew Holness told this nation that he would be holding his ministers accountable to the highest level of integrity. He is yet to deal with the several matters that have arisen involving his Ministers. Instead he has taken a vow of silence. His is a government that continues to demonstrate that truth and justice are not theirs and they are not to be trusted. Despite these strong pronouncements, the inaction of Andrew Holness shows he cannot live up to his own words and this deceptive way of governing puts all Jamaicans at risk.