Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Desmond McKenzie speaks out against corruption at gov't agency

Published:Saturday | May 21, 2016 | 5:39 AM
McKenzie says the local government reform programme is underpinned by the principles and tenets of accountability, transparency, subsidiarity, capacity building and institutional strengthening in a fair and equitable manner.

Local government minister Desmond McKenzie says the corruption allegations against members of the Hanover Parish Council severely undermine the integrity of the Council  and local government reform efforts.

Contractor General Dirk Harrison has asked the director of public prosecutions to take action against two councillors in the Hanover Parish Council who recommended dozens of government contracts valued at millions of dollars to family members and political affiliates.

McKenzie says the local government reform programme is underpinned by the principles and tenets of accountability, transparency, subsidiarity, capacity building and institutional strengthening in a fair and equitable manner.

"When these very principles are violated it then sends a signal of blatant disregard for the very citizens for whom we - the elected representatives at the local level -  pledge to serve," he says.

The local government minister says he will not cast any aspersions on the findings of the probe.

However, he says "the glaring untoward variations in the business model or lack thereof  for how Councils conduct the Contract Award Process must be cauterised and a formal method be put in place to address this and other management deficiencies".

McKenzie says he has requested that the Permanent Secretary, lead a high-level team from the ministry to conduct an in-depth probe of the administrative and financial operations of the Hanover Parish Council.

He says he will also address the issues and recommendations of the Contractor General’s Report at a Special Convened Meeting of Council on Thursday, May 26.

He will also share the findings and recommendations of the technical team established to investigate the collapse of a portion of the building of the Royalton Hotel which is under construction in Negril with the Council at the meeting.