PNP says Wheatley must go
The People’s National Party (PNP) is calling the decision by Cabinet to relieve Dr Andrew Wheatley of the energy portfolio while remaining the Minister of Science and Technology as a smokescreen
The party argues that the move is aimed at quelling public outcry against the litany of allegations of corruption which have engulfed the state-owned oil refinery PetroJam.
In a statement, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson contends that Wheatley should be relieved immediately of his entire portfolio as a first step in restoring public confidence in the country’s governance administration.
Robinson said that all well-thinking Jamaicans who expect the country to uphold its tradition of transparency, openness, probity and accountability in governance should reject what he labelled as the gimmick announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
''The Prime Minister needed to explain why Dr Wheatley was fit and proper for cabinet responsibility for Science and Technology and not for Energy. How can one explain losing confidence in part of an individual while maintaining the other part of the same individual in high esteem,” Robinson asked.
The People’s National Party (PNP) is rejecting the decision of Prime Minister Andrew Holness to relieve Minister Andrew Wheatley of a portion of his ministerial portfolio as a smokescreen to quell the public outcry against the litany of allegations of corruption which have engulfed the state-owned oil refinery – PetroJam.
Mr Julian Robinson, the Party’s General Secretary says the action by the Prime Minister is too little too late and that Minister Wheatley, who agreed to the Prime Minister's gentle slap on the wrist, should be relieved immediately of his entire portfolio as a first step in restoring public confidence in the country’s governance administration.
Mr. Robinson says all well-thinking Jamaicans who expect the country to, uphold its tradition of transparency, openness, probity and accountability in governance, should reject the gimmick announced by the Prime Minister.
In a statement tonight following the weekly meeting of the Party’s Executive Committee, Mr. Robinson said the Party repudiated the attempt by the Prime Minister to hoodwink the nation into believing that he has disciplined Dr. Wheatley by firing him from the Energy portfolio.
Mr. Robinson said, the Prime Minister needed to explain why Dr. Wheatley was fit and proper for cabinet responsibility for Science and Technology and not for Energy. How can one explain losing confidence in part of an individual while maintaining the other part of the same individual in high esteem, Mr Robinson asked?
“The public could draw only one conclusion and it was that Dr. Wheatley had committed grave infractions which excluded him from Energy, but the Prime Minister, hiding behind the Cabinet, is too weak and has no stomach to do the right thing by firing him entirely,” the General Secretary said.
The PNP says Dr Wheatley’s disregard and recklessness started with his role in the now infamous $600 Million de-bushing programme where the Contractor General in a detailed report to parliament, labelled him, along with five other ministerial colleagues as mendacious and parties to a “corruption enabling mechanism” which was devised to divert resources for use other than for their stated purpose.
Furthermore, even as the spotlight shines on the profligacy at PetroJam, there are allegations too of nepotism, cronyism and outright corruption at the Universal Service Fund, another agency under the ministerial ambit of Dr. Wheatley. We have taken notice that there is still no action on the call by the private sector, in a joint statement last week, for a forensic audit of the Universal Service Fund.
The Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) and the Financial Investigation Division (FID) have arrested and charged two employees of the National Energy Solution Limited (NESOL), formerly the Rural Electrification Programme, for fraud and other malfeasance.
The Opposition says public confidence cannot be restored with the Minister, whose stewardship of his portfolio is a clear dereliction of duty and mismanagement, leading to nepotism, cronyism and corruption, still maintaining ministerial responsibility.
The PNP General Secretary reminded the Prime Minister that by his own standard, announced in 2013, it was incumbent on a Prime Minister to remove a Minister in whom the public had lost confidence and trust.
We want to hear from you! Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-449-0169, email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.