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CORRECTED: PRIME MINISTER MUST ‘WALK THE TALK - HOLNESS

Release Date: 
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 07:00

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness in response to the growing controversy regarding Minister Paulwell’s handling of the 381 MW Energy plant, has written to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller imploring her to act immediately on her return from the ACS Summit in Mexico.  Holness said: “Just yesterday the Prime Minister ended her presentation calling for action, accountability and efficiency – let us see if  she will ‘walk the talk’.

The Opposition Leader outlined: “We all need and want lower Energy Costs.  No one has wanted or wants the Energy Minister or this project to fail.  In this context, perhaps we have as a country, up to now, been willing to give Minister Paulwell some benefit of the doubt in his conduct of this portfolio.”

In reflecting on the events leading up to present however, Mr Holness stated the fears of the Opposition seemed to be coming to the fore.  He said “The concerns that have been raised all along, by us, the private sector and civil society, were raised because we feared that if the proper process wasn’t followed, Jamaica might end up with only bad choices.  The Minister has wasted 2 and a half years of Jamaican’s time that should have been properly spent in delivering an alternative energy solution.  He is failing us as a nation. He is accountable to the people of Jamaica, and we are where we are today for no reason other than his actions, his choices and his decisions.”

Mr Holness stated that the most recent revelation regarding the Minister’s approach to the concerns raised by the IDB should be of concern to all Jamaicans.  He asked “How can you as a Cabinet Minister, approach the Contractor General of Jamaica, the person commissioned by Parliament to keep Ministers honest in terms of their procedures and contracts, and ask him to say that his position was an error? Or that it was incorrect.”  This is beyond excusable – and certainly not likely to make the IDB feel any better about the process.”

He also said the matter also needed to be viewed in its wider context “This government has from the very start of its term of office sought to undermine the OCG.  They have taken it to Court, they have ignored its requisitions for information, they have ignored its findings and recommendations, and now Minister Paulwell is seeking to twist the Contractor General’s arm to correct problems of his own making.”

In closing, Mr Holness said that the PNP can no longer make “youthful exuberance” excuses for Minister Paulwell.  He said that whether or not the government or the OUR determined that EWI should be given the opportunity to continue based on the state of the process, the Prime Minister must remove Minister Paulwell from the Energy Portfolio and from the Cabinet of Jamaica.  He said “He has cost already us millions.  More than ever at this delicate time of our economic development, we cannot afford his loose approach to announcements and projects nor his disregard for proper governance.  Jamaica has neither the time nor the money to afford Minister Paulwell’s management style.”

 

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