Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Opposition declines invitation to KCT divestment signing

Published:Saturday | April 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Henry ... My attendance would effectively add the Opposition’s imprimatur to the process and that would have been remiss of me.

Opposition Spokesman on Transport and Works, Mike Henry, said he has declined an invitation to attend the official signing of the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT) concession agreement.

Henry cited as his reason the failure of the government to answer in Parliament questions posed by the Opposition regarding the divestment.
Earlier this week, the Opposition spokesman called on the Contractor General to investigate the details of the bidding process that led to KCT’s divestment of the port facility to the Terminal Link/CMA CGM consortium.

He said the KCT divestment has been quite some time in coming and the Opposition had asked questions regarding details of the divestment from the meeting of Parliament’s Standing Finance Committee several weeks ago.

“So far, no meaningful response has come from the Government to our questions regarding the Kingston Container Terminal divestment.  The Opposition could in no good conscience, therefore, respond favourably to the Government’s invitation to attend the signing of the concession agreement between the Port Authority and the Terminal Link consortium given the absence of key information,” Henry said in a release.

“My attendance would effectively add the Opposition’s imprimatur to the process and that would have been remiss of me,” he added.
Henry said the Opposition is seeking to determine whether the even qualified to have been engaged in the bidding process in the first place.

He said the public must also get answers as to how arrangements for pension and redundancy payments amounting to some $2 billion will be dealt with.

"As far as we are aware, the Port Authority of Jamaica is not in receipt of funds to facilitate this exercise, and one is left to speculate therefore as to whether it is the Port Authority that will actually be making the payment".

The Port Authority declined to answer questions posed by Gleaner Business following Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s announcement in Parliament during her contribution to the Budget Debate that the Terminal Link/CMA CGM consortium was to be granted the concession.

The Port Authority said the issues will be ventilated at a press conference next week following the signing slated for April 7.

The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing has similarly declined to answer questions, stating that Minister Omar Davies will make a statement on the matter in Parliament, but it did not say when that would be done.

Among the questions posed was the level of the financial outlay as well as the level of expansion the consortium is expected to make, the main terms of the concession, how long is it expected to last, and what will be the fate of the current workforce at KCT.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com