Wed | Sep 19, 2018

PNP: Montague must go!

Published:Monday | December 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has called for the immediate axing of Minister of National Security Robert Montague as a first step in remedying the situation with the failure of O'Brien's International Car Sales and Rentals Limited to fulfill its contract to supply 200 cars to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

"Minister Montague cannot escape culpability as the used-car decision was his personal initiative, and at the time of announcement, was aimed at providing the JCF with a ratio of four pre-owned vehicles to one new vehicle. The country has now paid out $213 million to a contractor and yet has only 30 used Toyota Axio cars, which do not meet JCF specifications, to show for it. Where has the money gone?" Phillips stated in a release.

He also called for a forensic audit of payments made by the national security minister under the $426.9 million contract with O'Brien's in light of the $213 million paid to the company as a deposit on the transaction.

Phillips said that it was not acceptable for the Ministry of Finance to absorb additional costs and break its own procurement guidelines and terms of the supply contract by providing waivers for general consumption tax and special consumption tax as well as for shipping and Customs clearance delays charges, which were to be borne by the supplier.

"It is clear that this contract has gone sour, and it appears that the contractor does not have the ability to deliver. It is the taxpayers of Jamaica who will get the bitter end of the stick as millions of taxpayers' dollars have not been accounted for, and the police are without cars while innocent Jamaicans are shot and killed on the streets and in their homes at the rate of more than one every four hours," he said.