PNP General Secretary Paul Burke Cannot Keep Chairmanship of SDC - Montague

Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 16:15

The Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party Mr Robert Montague, is today calling on Mr. Paul Burke to immediately resign from his position as Chairman of the Social Development Commission, failing which, he should be removed by the Local Government Minister who appointed him.

Mr. Montague stated that at the Party's Standing Committee on Monday May 12, strong concerns were expressed regarding Mr. Burke's clear conflict of interest.

He said "We noted Mr. Burke's appointment as General Secretary of the PNP, and in particular, the fact that he is now in charge of political strategy and mobilization of the PNP for election purposes.  This is a clear conflict of interest with his role as Chairman of a public body specifically charged with responsibility for islandwide distribution of resources.

"Since his appointment as Chairman of the SDC we had received complaints of politically branded persons being mobilized for attendance at SDC supported functions, and already since his appointment as General Secretary, we have started to hear of meetings of PNP personnel at SDC locations.  Clearly this is wrong and if allowed to continue, the SDC will become fully and overtly politicized again as it was under previous PNP Administrations, after having had its objectivity and credibility restored under the JLP."

He said the Standing Committee noted that since its election this PNP Administration has demonstrated time and time again that the Prime Minister only paid lip service to principles of good governance in her inauguration speech, and that the PNP now needed to be called out on its conduct, and required to do better. 

He said "Members mentioned the politicization of Housing Association of Jamaica to the detriment of poor Jamaicans, unpunished procedural breaches by Richard Azan, the fact that Mayor Barnswell has not stepped down despite his pending criminal charges, and of course the recent failure of the Prime Minister to take action against Minister Phillip Paulwell.

He said, we are therefore calling on Mr. Burke to be at least one person seen to do the right thing and to step down from his post, or for Minister Noel Arscott to remove him.

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