Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Leave those keys! - Holness - PM-designate bans sale of government vehicles to outgoing ministers

Published:Sunday | February 28, 2016 | 2:00 AMArthur Hall
Lisa Hanna: "I have already returned my vehicle, phone and passport."

Outgoing Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna has returned the vehicle, phone and diplomatic passports given to her when she was appointed to head the ministry in 2012.

Hanna's handover came hours before Prime Minister-designate Andrew Holness announced that his administration will discontinue the policy of allowing former Cabinet ministers to purchase vehicles which were being used by them while in office.

In a post on his page on the social-media site Facebook yesterday, Holness said the policy was one of the issues he discussed when he met with the Cabinet secretary and the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister last Friday.

According to Holness, the move to discontinue the policy was part of the Jamaica Labour Party's commitment to change how government works.

He said he had also discussed with the government functionaries the earliest route to inauguration and he arranged a briefing on the important activities of the previous Government.

Holness' decree was accepted by Hanna, who told The Sunday Gleaner that she had done the handover last Friday.

 

NO PROBLEM

 

Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Junior Minister Julian Robinson also told our news team he had no problem with Holness' decree.

"I don't have an issue with that position," said Robinson. "From Friday, I went into my office and told my staff goodbye. I also met with the permanent secretary and indicated that I would return my vehicle, phone and passport [on Monday]," said Robinson.

For Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Arnold 'A.J.' Nicholson the vehicle is not an issue, as he drove his personal vehicle while in office.

"I have handed in my passport and that of my wife. I will be handing over the phone tomorrow, but I need to do some transfers and that is the only reason it was not handed in yet," said Nicholson.

Another member of the outgoing administration, who asked that her name be withheld, also indicated that she plans to return the Government's items today. She said she had applied to purchase the vehicle that was assigned to her, but would now return the keys based on the directive from Holness.

In 2012, the Portia Simpson Miller-led administration was forced to defend itself after it bought 20 high-end vehicles for some Cabinet ministers for approximately $60 million.

At that time, the Government explained that the Cabinet ministers provided with the new vehicles had been driving their own as the vehicles driven by the previous ministers had been sold to them.

The Government provided a list which showed that 30 SUVs were sold to former ministers and permanent secretaries who worked under the Bruce Golding and Andrew Holness administrations.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com