Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Cabinet backed Petrojam appointments – Wheatley

Published:Thursday | July 2, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Dr Andrew Wheatley presents keys to Faithlyn Cotterell at the National Housing Trust's handover of 200 detached two-bedroom units to beneficiaries at a ceremony on Wednesday.

Former Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley has denied that his appointment of several key persons to the scandal-scarred board of the Petrojam oil refinery was tantamount to collusion.

Wheatley, who was roundly criticised as “dishonest” in a voluminous report by the Integrity Commission, suggested that the anti-corruption watchdog was unjustified to equate private association and professional appointment with a bid to orchestrate what it termed “corruption-enabling mechanisms”.

He went further to assert that he was not on a frolic of his own as all members of Cabinet bore collective responsibility for the controversial appointments.

“It is being circulated that I knew the members that were assigned to the board of Petrojam and alluded to some sort of collusion. I am unaware of any public board (appointed by a minister of government under any administration) without the vast majority of its members being known by the minister.

“Being in a position of trust, I appointed persons who had previously demonstrated the ability to serve, were qualified, and of solid character and reputation. It must be noted that ALL public boards are subject to the approval of Cabinet,” said Wheatley, using capitalisation to emphasise the full backing of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his ministers.

Wheatley also lambasted the Integrity Commission’s characterisation of him as “damaging, spurious, and belligerent”.

“They are baseless and should be retracted immediately,” Wheatley added.

Update: The quote by Dr Andrew Wheatley was adjusted to read: 'It is being circulated that I knew the members that were assigned to the board of Petrojam and alluded to some sort of collusion."