Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Hypocritical and irresponsible! Babsy Grange fires back at Lisa Hanna

Published:Tuesday | April 4, 2017 | 4:09 PM
Grange ... I categorically reject the allegations of wrongdoing and will seek to provide a comprehensive response in the House.

The Culture Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange has released a statement categorically rejecting claims of wrongdoing made by the St Ann South East MP Lisa Hanna made in Parliament Tuesday afternoon.

Hanna, speaking in the sectoral debate had earlier detailed what she called a "culture of extravagance" in aspects of the Culture Ministry.

She raised concerns about the $440 million allocated for the emancipation and heritage week celebrations this year, which she noted was $191 million more than expenditure for the previous year.

READ: Hanna blasts Grange, unveils damning 'culture of extravagance'

Hanna also questioned why only $60 million was set aside for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, the entity responsible promoting Jamaican culture and organising independence anniversary celebrations.


IN PHOTO: Lisa Hanna

But in response last Tuesday evening, Grange accused Hanna of being hypocritical and irresponsible.

SEE GRANGE'S FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

I have noted the accusations mentioned in the presentation by the Member of Parliament for South East St Ann, Lisa Hanna, during the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives today (Tuesday).

I categorically reject the allegations of wrongdoing and will seek to provide a comprehensive response in the House.

The allegations of wrongdoing relate to the use of a consultant by the JCDC and the establishment of a Secretariat in the Ministry to coordinate activities to mark Jamaica 55 — which is an expanded programme.

That the Member has chosen to allege wrongdoing on that basis is too extraordinary to be believed as during the tenure of the Member as Minister of Youth and Culture (between 2012 and 2016): the same consultant was engaged by the JCDC; and the Minister maintained a Secretariat to coordinate activities to mark Jamaica 50, including the sale of commemorative pins.

At last count we found tens of thousands of pins hidden at various locations across the island and overseas.  The investigation is continuing.

The hiring of consultants at the JCDC pre-dates my leadership as Minister and has been a necessary support resource to the Commission in the execution of its mandate.

The mind boggles at the thought that this Member, who fired the Project Director for Jamaica 50 Secretariat on assuming office and hired another at twice the pay, is now the one coming to the Parliament to tell the nation that she found a culture of extravagance.

The Member was hypocritical and irresponsible in her presentation which had the effect of besmirching professionals, alarming our partners and demotivating our volunteers.

I give the assurance to the nation that we are managing a credible programme in compliance with applicable rules and regulations including those that govern procurement.