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In his report of his investigation into Jamaica 50 expenditure, which commenced because I raised questions about the expenditures when I came to office in January 2012. As at December 2011, approximately $23.8 million was spent with a cash flow schedule of $48 million, all this with limited documentation and no approved budget for Jamaica 50. The OCG has confirmed these facts in his report. The OCG has made no expressed finding of any personal wrongdoing on my part.

I was the POLITICAL leader of the Ministry. My role was to make policy and to give policy guidelines. The Ministry has a Permanent Secretary who has administration responsibilities. He carried those out without any interference from me.

Although I’m not responsible for the issuing of a single contract I can assure the press that I did everything possible within the short time to ensure that all arrangements were made in the best interests of the Jamaican people and with the best use of taxpayers funds as far as was possible with what had already been put in place.

In my opinion, the accounts department for example, did a valiant job in light of cabinet’s budgetary approval of only coming in May 2012 three months before the actual celebrations. If there were any minor discrepancies I’m certain it was due to the massive amount of work to be done in a short time or some other simple practical explanation the CG hasn’t considered. I’m reviewing the report and may make a more detailed statement later if it appears to me to be necessary

Please return to my Sectoral speech on April 4. I told Jamaica I found an ingrained culture of extravagance when I got to the Ministry of Cultue that took me 3 YEARS to turn around. Jamaica 50 was not my creation it was the creation of the former Minister. Had I left it as it was, the proposal to spend $2.5 Billion, made by a man who is now the Minister’s senior advisor, would have been forced down the JCDC’s and the Ministry’s throats. That was foiled and discarded.
Our policy successes as evident in the low cost of the 2015 gala have been obliterated by the swift return to the ‘money-mek-fi-spend’ culture I saw in 2012. Don’t tell me I did the same thing because the evidence is that I did not. It was MY questions about the culture I saw that catalysed the OCG;’s report. This Government must answer for its return to a culture of extravagance and stop trying to implicate me in its own corruption and nepotism.

Jamaica 50 PINS
The Government entered into an agreement in 2012 with two companies to produce and sell Jamaica 50 pins as a part of the events and initiatives to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary. The pins were manufactured at the expense of the two companies contracted. The Government of Jamaica incurred no cost in this process.

As per the agreement, the Government was paid a small percentage of sales and all unsold pins were to be given to the Government. The pins now in the possession of the Government were sent to the Government by one of the companies as per the agreement.

The Ministry of Finance and Planning was contacted re the Ministry of Youth and Culture’s position to have the pins sold and were advised by the MOFP that MYC should have the pins valued to obtain a fair price. That is the process the MYC was about to undertake regarding the pins in our possession just prior to the change in administration. All the relevant files pertaining to the processes are in the Ministry.

“I have learned that courage has no limits, it might be perceived as unreasonable and could even mean that you stand alone on principle”
Lisa Hanna, MP