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Be Transparent - JMEA head calls for thorough Petrojam investigation

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell and Christopher Serju

President of the Jamaica Manufacturers' and Exporters' Association (JMEA), Metry Seaga, is adamant that Government must ensure transparency in its investigation of allegations of financial impropriety at the state-owned oil refinery, Petrojam.

"My concern is that we have a proper investigation by the right people, that it's fulsome and that whatever are the results, action is taken appropriately against whomever it is required," Seaga told The Gleaner last night.

"This Government has said they are about transparency and they are about keeping the rules and if they so say, they must so do," he added.

Yesterday, the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) raised strong objections to a decision by the Government to designate permanent secretary in the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Hillary Alexander, to investigate and report to Cabinet on rampant breaches at Petrojam.

In a release, Spokesman on Energy Phillip Paulwell said that the Opposition "absolutely repudiates the Cabinet's decision to designate Ms Alexander as the investigator because it does not inspire public confidence that the Government is serious about the investigation rather than setting up an escape hatch for their ministerial colleagues".

Pressed on the issue of the objection by the parliamentary Opposition to Hillary Alexander leading the investigation, Seaga said, "I am not sure if she is the right or wrong person to be doing it. I know the permanent secretary to be a lady of high quality.

She has served under both administrations and I'm not sure why there is an issue with her.

"Protocol would have to dictate that, but on a personal level, I don't know her to have any political leanings and I do not see why she would not be able to do a proper job," said Seaga.

However, the JMEA president had this advice for the Holness administration:

"I don't think that we want any controversy over who does the investigation, because we want a thorough and full investigation, so we need to find somebody who is not controversial."