Thu | Dec 5, 2019

Local gov't ministry hits back at Brown Burke

Published:Thursday | January 17, 2019 | 10:29 AM
Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie - File photo

The Ministry of Local Government is accusing the opposition spokesperson on local government Dr Angela Brown Burke of playing politics in her criticism of the Ministry's relocation project.

Brown Burke raised concerns about the project against the background of a disclosure by the Auditor General’s Department that the Ministry overspent millions on rent and renovating the Hagley Park Road, St Andrew office.

READ: Brown Burke lashes local gov't ministry for excess spending on main office

But, the local government ministry is accusing the opposition spokesperson of disseminating false and misleading information.

Full Statement

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie has described as most unfortunate, the news release issued by the Peoples’ National Party through the Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government, Dr. Angela Brown Burke, about the renovation works occasioned by the relocation of the Ministry to 61 Hagley Park Road.

The news release circulated by the Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government is fuelled by the need to generate political mileage out of a well-intentioned project. The purposes of this Statement therefore are to create public doubt about the sincerity of the Ministry’s motivations for the renovation project, in the hope of establishing a false claim that this Administration is engaged in all sorts of wrongdoing with taxpayers’ money.

I wish to caution the Opposition about disseminating false and misleading information, as the calculations and especially the conclusions contained in the release are its own. They are not present anywhere in the Auditor-General’s Report.

This entire project was implemented out of a clear and pressing need to improve the working conditions of the Ministry’s staff, to enhance their security and to have a modern space in which all our local and international partners can come to do business. The previous Minister of Local Government experienced the conditions and challenges of the previous location first-hand. In fact, the public will be interested to know that the discussions regarding a movement away from 85 Hagley Park Road began under the previous Administration.

As I indicated in the House of Representatives last evening in direct response to the Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government, the Ministry will be presenting a comprehensive response to the subjects raised in the Auditor-General’s Report.

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