Prime Minister Andrew Holness has indicated that he will inform the country within the next few days if any action will be taken against his energy minister Dr Andrew Wheatley, adding that he will announce policy changes to improve the management at Government’s controversy-hit oil refinery, Petrojam.
He stated that he received a preliminary report regarding allegations made, but the Public Accountability Inspectorate is ‘urgently’ gathering more information about certain donations and construction of a wall.
“The allegations that have been made are in many instances very serious allegations pointing to the minister, and allegations have been made directly against the minister,” Prime Minister Holness told the House of Representatives yesterday, June 26.
He noted that, on Monday evening, Cabinet interviewed senior staff from both Petrojam and the energy ministry.
“The Cabinet gained a better understanding of the issues and problems at Petrojam, and has identified key areas of weakness in the governance of Petrojam. The weakness identified appeared to be long-standing and systemic in nature, and has impacted the governance, transparency and efficient running of the entity,” the prime minister further said.
Sensitive to allegations of corruption
He declared that he is mindful of the impact of allegations of corruption.
“The government is sensitive to the impact that allegations of corruption have on public confidence as well as on the value, effectiveness and the efficiency of Petrojam as a public entity,” he said.
The prime minister noted that acting without proper information may be damaging.
“It is not an excuse, not a crutch, not something to hide behind. But you could find that acting on incorrect information could be equally damaging…
“As I said, in short order, I will be making some [decisions] – in short order, in a matter of days,” he promised.
Ministers should give 110% of their energy
The actions to be taken will be based on policy, as well as general governance and management – not strictly on whether there is evidence of corruption, Prime Minister Holness said.
“It is not something that anyone who sits in my seat and bear the responsibility that I bear can overlook,” he further declared.
“My job is to ensure that the people that I appoint who are members of parliament elected in their own right, but who are appointed to be stewards of the people’s business – to be ministers of the peoples business, that they do the best job and give 110 percent of their energy, moreso of their judgment all the time.”
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