Mon | Sep 25, 2017

UPDATED: Civil society group explains silence on Port Authority pension scandal

Published:Monday | August 29, 2016 | 8:41 AM
The Auditor General found that an unnamed former senior executive at the Port Authority walked away with gratuity and pensions amounting to approximately $146 million in breach of government guidelines.

At least one civil society group has sought to explain why it has been silent on the multi-million dollar pensions and gratuity scandal uncovered at the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ).

The Jamaica Civil Society Coalition says it has not ignored the findings Auditor General review of the PAJ and the Factories Corporation of Jamaica, but has been doing the appropriate research before commenting.

According to the civil society coalition, it has been busy undertaking a study on the response of other state agencies to recommendations of the Auditor General's Department over recent years.

The Coalition says the study is to determine the extent to which state actors are not being held accountable and the extent to which the recommendations of the Auditor General are being implemented to prevent additional losses.

The coalition said its findings and recommendations  will soon be made public.


IN PHOTO: Kevin O'Brien Chang

Two weeks ago, political analyst, Kevin O'Brien Chang, noting the stridency of advocates regarding the Outameni scandal, said the silence of civil society groups on the Port Authority issue highlights an 'inconsistency'.

Chang also said critics could say the general silence by the government and civil society groups could be viewed as friends protecting friends.

The Port Authority has not formally commented on the discovery that an unnamed former senior executive at the authority walked away with gratuity and pensions amounting to approximately $146 million in breach of government guidelines.

A day after the release, the Government said Prime Minister Andrew Holness, under whose portfolio the PAJ falls, would be responding.

However that response has not been forthcoming.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated that the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition was conducting a study of the Port Authority's response to reports from the Auditor General's Department (AGD). That was not correct. The Coalition's study is about other state bodies' response to findings of the AGD