'I was wrong'... Hutchinson says sorry over Holland sweetheart deal
Embattled government minister JC Hutchinson has admitted that he was wrong in the Holland sweetheart deal.
It comes amid a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister that Hutchinson has been stripped of his responsibility in the Ministry of Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries.
Hutchinson has been at the centre of a controversy over the management of state-owned lands in St Elizabeth by a company of which his wife is a partner.
See full text below:
I wish to apologise to the Prime Minister, my Party, my Cabinet Colleagues, and most importantly the Jamaican people for my errors of judgement in relation to land transactions involving the Holland Estate.
My actions were never designed for personal benefit but arose out of a conviction that strong and decisive action was necessary to preserve the Holland Estate lands (the “Lands”) for small farmers.
There was a real risk that without strong and decisive action the Lands would have been overtaken by squatters and stray animals as has happened in the past.
I, therefore, acted out of my perception that the proper course, of having the Agro Investment Corporation handle the transition to small farmers, would have been ineffective.
I was wrong. The course of action I chose cannot be defended. Though my goals were noble, the procedure I used was flawed and the ends do not justify the means.
Throughout my long career in public life, I have acted with probity and adhered to high standards of conduct.
I trust that my contrition and the sincerity of my apology for this error is self-evident and that, in the end, I will be judged by the totality of my contribution to public life.
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