Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Services by Petrojam foreign consultant available locally

Published:Friday | June 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter

Members of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament have blasted Petrojam for engaging and paying Rodney Davis, a Canada-based consultant, US$17,000 (J$2.2 million) per month for a project, which could be handled locally.

"The consultant that was referenced just now was engaged through Asha Corporation to provide financial support for the Vacuum Distillation project. The skill sets were not available in-house, so the services were engaged outside," explained Floyd Grindley, general manager of Petrojam, during Tuesday's sitting of the PAAC.

However, his response was contradicted by Winston Watson, group general manager of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, parent company of Petrojam. "Yes, we have a chief accountant and we do have a consultant that can provide that kind of service," Waston told the PAAC in response to a query by opposition member Fitz Jackson whether the skill sets were available locally

Jackson then charged: "You (Grindley) indicate that your staff advised that you need this expertise to do this service. Hence you go out and 'sole search' ... for this entity to do a service that is already available to you by your parent company. You call that effective management?"

He added, "The profit from Petrojam can help to build schools [and] repair roads as a government company. When the money is misspent, the people of Jamaica suffer!"

Mikael Phillips, opposition member, suggested that Grindley should provide the PAAC with a report on the competence of Asha Corporation since the company was contracted directly.

"I'm sure that he can go and do further research to see if Asha Corporation has been engaged before since it is a specialised task that they are asked to do," said Phillips.