Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Contractor general summons gov’t ministers over bushing saga

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 1:54 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Contractor General Dirk Harrison
Wheatley
Robinson
Montague
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The controversial debushing programme is among several issues that have pushed Contractor General Dirk Harrison to urge politicians and other leaders to place country over party.

Harrison disclosed that three government ministers have been summoned to the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) to answer questions regarding the multimillion-dollar saga.

He told The Gleaner yesterday that Dr Andrew Wheatley, minister of science, energy and technology; Labour Minister Shahine Robinson; and Robert Montague, minister of national security, are currently answering questions surrounding the issue.

The debushing programme developed into a political drama, as it was launched 10 days before November’s local government elections. The opposition party maintained that the programme sidelined elected representatives.

In addition, a recent parliamentary committee meeting indicated that the budget for the programme could now jump from the original $606 million to a reported $800 million.

MORE TO BE CALLED IN

Harrison said more persons will be called in.

“We have summoned a number of persons to appear before us,” he said.

“This matter is the subject of an ongoing OCG investigation. I shall say no more at this time, except that, when the report is tabled, it will make very interesting reading.”

In giving his recommendations, the contractor general said that growth and development should be a priority for any government.

“Greed has affected our growth on both sides of the political divide. We need to promote growth and facilitate competition in the marketplace. Reject, restrain and repel favouritism and nepotism. The boys’ and girls’ club need to close shop,” he declared.

“We need to think service first. It’s apparent to me, and perhaps I’m very naive, but on both sides of the political divide they think party first before country.”

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com