THE EDITOR, Sir:
THE JAMAICA Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) notes with outrage the latest revelations concerning the utilisation of public funds which the Government of Jamaica has borrowed for purposes of roadworks, and which the auditor general, Office of the Contractor General (OGC), as well as the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament have brought to public attention.
The ongoing revelations of the reckless and irresponsible stewardship of public funds by the National Works Agency is a demonstration of what is wrong with governance and leadership in Jamaica. It is intolerable that public funds seem to be used like personal resources with no apparent regard for the national interest, for any notion of fiduciary duty and absolutely no regard for established guidelines. All this with an attitude of impunity.
In the present governance arrangement, the role of permanent secretaries is being compromised. The lack of clarity and accountability in the management and fiduciary responsibility of 'own account' statutory agencies need to be addressed urgently . The Public Services Commission must immediately act to reinforce the authority and responsibility of permanent secretaries, particularly in the context of executive agencies.
Regardless of any lack of clarity in the arrangements, the position of Permanent Secretary Hales is now rendered untenable and he must resign.
The JCSC welcomes the resignation of Minister Henry as another step in the ongoing process of accountability that must take place.
In light of the information now available to the public following the auditor general's investigation and the equally troubling findings of the OCG to date, the JCSC calls for the following actions:
The immediate securing of all documentation related to JDIP and other roadworks being investigated. The immediate commencement of police investigations into the JDIP and other relevant programmes in tandem with the investigations of the OCG.
Call for PM's address
We call on Prime Minister Holness to ensure that a full and thorough forensic investigation of JDIP and other projects being financed under the China Exim Bank loan, takes place immediately. We further call on the prime minister to address the nation promptly, setting out his administration's position and intentions with respect to the JDIP, and what his administration will do to further the recommendation of the OCG for strengthening Jamaica's ability to prevent and prosecute maladministration of public resources. The people of Jamaica deserve no less.
The Jamaica Civil Society Coalition