Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he had no clue Perceval Bahado-Singh was not living in Jamaica at the time he was appointed to the Board of the state-owned oil refinery, Petrojam.
He in fact told the House of Representatives yesterday that, based on information he has received but is yet to confirm, Bahado-Singh lived in Jamaica when he was appointed.
The prime minister also stated that, based on further information, Cabinet didn’t appoint Bahado-Singh to serve as Chairman.
He merely assumed that role recently in an effort to cushion the effects of sanctions the United States has imposed on Venezuela, which is part-owner of Petrojam.
“At the time that he was appointed to the Board – what we have discovered but we have to now verify, is that he was still resident here [in Jamaica]. The other thing that we have discovered is that he was not appointed Chairman. He assumed chairmanship when the executive order [from the United States] created a situation where the existing Chairman who was Venezuelan gave up the chairmanship,” Prime Minister Holness further told the House yesterday, June 26.
He stated that, based on current policies, the home addresses of Board appointees across Government are not usually requested.
“I didn’t know [Bahado-Singh was living overseas when he was appointed], because it is not now a policy requirement for when boards are being prepared and submitted to Cabinet that this information is disclosed…
“While I agree with the member from St Catherine (Fitz Jackson) that it is something that should have been disclosed, when we discover that this may very well be a systematic weakness, then the government has a duty to make that kind of system-wide policy response,” the prime minister further said.
He also noted that some Venezuelans, while being Chairmen of the board, did not reside in Jamaica where Petrojam is located.
Meanwhile, during a meeting of a parliamentary committee this month, it was revealed that the then Petrojam board Chairman, Bahado-Singh, was living in the United States.
Since that disclosure, the parliamentary opposition has questioned the effectiveness of the chairmanship, as well as the circumstances under which Cabinet ‘appointed’ Bahado-Singh to lead the board while he lives abroad.
Bahado-Singh, along with the other two Jamaican appointees to the board, resigned this month amid damning allegations regarding the management of Petrojam.