FINSAC commission gets less than desired

Published: Wednesday | February 6, 2013 Comments 0
Dr Peter Phillips (right), minister of finance and planning, speaks about the Supplementary Budget with Education Minister Ronald Thwaites in the House of Representatives yesterday. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Dr Peter Phillips (right), minister of finance and planning, speaks about the Supplementary Budget with Education Minister Ronald Thwaites in the House of Representatives yesterday. - Rudolph Brown/Photographer

FOLLOWING INTENSE pressure for commissioners of the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC) Commission of Enquiry to be given the necessary funding to complete their job, the Government is proposing to spend a further $4.6 million on the body.

The amount, however, which is slated for rental costs, is a far cry from the additional J$20 million which the Ministry of Finance, last September, said the commissioners had asked for to complete the report.

For Yola Gray-Baker, president of the Association of Finsac'd Entrepreneurs, while the allocation is welcomed, she is not carried away by it.

"There are people who come out and say things but mean something else. They do it simply because they want to create an impression or for people to draw an impression from what they are saying even though that is not what they really want, " Gray-Baker said.

She said the report of the commission is of paramount importance in establishing the issues which led to FINSAC, and said "whatever it should take to have this enquiry completed must be given".

"If you stop it where it is right now, then whatever has been paid before, you can call it wasted money and Jamaica does not have money to waste," she said.

Holness sought intervention

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness had written to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen seeking his intervention.

Holness contended that the FINSAC commission should be allowed to complete its task.

And last week, speaking at a Rotary Club meeting, Opposition spokesman on finance Audley Shaw blasted the Government for what he said was an attempt to cover up the report.

The commission of enquiry, which began sitting in September 2009, was expected to last for six months but only wrapped up proceedings towards the end of last year because of legal battles and what the commissioners said was the absence of witnesses.

The commission was mandated to examine the issues surrounding the financial sector meltdown of the 1990s when the People's National Party held power and how the crisis was handled by bailout agent FINSAC.

Phillips told Parliament on June 6 that the Government has spent J$65 million to finance the commission, and that there were outstanding bills for rental and other costs.

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