Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Supreme Court blocks contractor general report to be tabled on Hayles - Harrison dismisses questions from MP as 'fake news'

Published:Tuesday | March 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Contractor General Dirk Harrison.
Ian Hayles, Member of Parliament for Hanover Western.
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The Supreme Court has granted an injunction blocking the tabling in Parliament of a report by Contractor General Dirk Harrison, which is seeking answers in regards to allegations of conflict of interest, irregularity and impropriety in relation to the construction of buildings by Hanover Western Member of Parliament Ian Hayles, without approval from the Hanover Parish Council.

The report was to be tabled today.

Lawyers representing Hayles went to court yesterday challenging what they claim were the methods used by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) to gather material used to compile the report.

However, the matter was not fully ventilated, as it was held that since the OCG had already done what is required by law in tabling the report, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate should be added to the legal process.

The parties are to return to court next Monday.

BLASTED HAYLES

In the meantime, Harrison has blasted Hayles for peddling "fake news", noting that the questions the opposition lawmaker tabled last Thursday in Parliament were inflammatory.

Eyebrows were raised when Hayles asked Prime Minister Andrew Holness to ascertain whether the law allows the contractor general to intercept telephone conversations, email and Facebook accounts of citizens of Jamaica without first obtaining approval from the Supreme Court.

The questions tabled by Hayles were also published in The Sunday Gleaner and are expected to be answered by the prime minister in less than three weeks.

In his response, the contractor general said the questions "give rise to inferences being drawn and innuendos being made, which are false.

"The effect is at the lowest, inflammatory, and at the highest, potentially defamatory, amounting to fake news, as some of the suggestions are without merit and others untrue," Harrison told The Gleaner yesterday.

Harrison pointed out that his office sent a special report to Parliament on February 13, 2017.

"The contractor general shows concern with Ian Hayles, member of parliament, Western Hanover, in the anxious moments before this report is tabled and becomes a public document," Harrison said.

In his questions to the prime minister, Hayles also wanted to know if Holness was aware that the contractor general, in a number of matters, has sought the assistance of a foreign government to investigate Jamaicans or American citizens of Jamaican birth.