Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Opposition presses Gov't to appoint energy minister

Published:Thursday | November 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Julian Robinson (left), opposition spokesman on science and technology, addresses journalists yesterday during a press conference held at the PNP Headquarters in St Andrew. At right is Phillip Paulwell, the PNP’s spokesman on energy.

The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) says that it will intensify the pressure on the Government to appoint a new energy minister.

Dr Andrew Wheatley, the man who held the position little more than two months ago, resigned as Cabinet minister following allegations of corruption, nepotism, and cronyism at the state-owned refinery, Petrojam, as well as other agencies and statutory bodies under the then energy ministry.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday at PNP headquarters in St Andrew, Julian Robinson, opposition spokesman on science and technology, said that the Data Protection Bill, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Bill, and the Cybercrime Act are critical pieces of legislation that have been placed on the back burner owing to the absence of a minister.

Robinson also said that the country deserved an update on the findings of investigations carried out at several agencies under the former ministry. The bodies that conducted probes include the Auditor General, the Integrity Commission, and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).

"We believe that with six months in, it is critical that the nation be given even an update to say where these agencies are with these reports, if they are 50 per cent complete or 80 per cent (and), when these reports are going to be tabled in Parliament so that some closure can be brought to the issues at the ministry," he said.

Shadow Minister on Energy Phillip Paulwell also indicated that the energy portfolio needed attention as several issues, including the ongoing concerns at Petrojam, required clarification. He said that the prime minister has been sidetracked, and, as such, the ministry is in need of day-to-day ministerial leadership.