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PSOJ wants speedy action on PetroJam revelations

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Thursday said it expects a speedy review of the “long-anticipated” reports on the Petrojam investigations by the various parliamentary oversight committees.

The PSOJ said in a statement that it notes with concern that the Integrity Commission has also indicated that matters be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Financial Investigations Division and the Commissioner of Police for further investigations.

Members of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s board outline the business lobby group’s strategy for the 2020/22 administrative period at a press briefing on January 10, 2020. (Photo: Chris Lewinson)

It said these latest reports appear to justify the perception of most Jamaicans, that “for far too long corruption still looms large within our country” and that many Jamaicans have lost and continue to lose faith “in our systems of governance, accountability and justice.

“The overhang of real and/or perceived corrupt practices since independence has left many Jamaicans sceptical with a high level of mistrust in our leaders across the political, private, public sectors and civil society,” PSOJ President Keith Duncan is quoted in the statement.

Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Keith Duncan
(Photo: Chris Lewison/Caribbean Business Report)

“Corruption has also stunted the potential growth of our country with the misuse of scarce resources that could have been invested in the building out of education, health, national security, water and other poverty alleviation measures.

“These measures could have materially bettered the living conditions of our people and created a more investor-friendly environment which would have seen greater domestic and foreign investments in Jamaica,” Duncan said.

The PSOJ is calling on leaders and citizens to raise the bar of accountability for ourselves and our leaders to create a prosperous, fair and equitable Jamaica.

“We look forward to the swift review of the reports, conclusion of the investigations and for the appropriate justice to be administered,” the PSOJ added.

“Corruption has also stunted the potential growth of our country with the misuse of scarce resources that could have been invested in the building out of education, health, national security, water and other poverty alleviation measures.”

— Keith Duncan, president, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica

Meanwhile, the main Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is calling for the expeditious and persistent pursuit of individuals identified in the Integrity Commission report on PetroJam.

The PNP said that the relevant agencies should use the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to request, if necessary, the extradition of those accused who reside in overseas jurisdictions.

“Let the chips fall where they may; this Government has been operating as if taxpayers’ money is their personal funds to do with as they please, while critical public services such as the police force, the public hospitals and too many of our schools cannot find basic resources to improve the quality of service to our people,” PNP general secretary and shadow minister of technology Julian Robinson said.

Shadow minister of technology and People’s National Party General Secretary Julian Robinson (Photo: PNP)

The 215-page report on the country’s lone oil refinery outlines a litany of administrative and other breaches by a former minister and 15 other appointees, functionaries and ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) activists.

In addition, the Integrity Commission said the former minister was less than truthful in his representations to the commission and that he misled the commission during the investigation.

The Opposition has called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to ensure that “appropriate legislative, regulatory and policy changes, as well as changes recommended by the Integrity Committee”, are implemented forthwith, and “to ensure there is no repetition of the scandalous behaviour by so many in the political and state apparatus in the shameful behaviour at Petrojam”.

— CMC