Sun | Dec 5, 2021

21 questions for the transport minister about the AAJ saga

Published:Tuesday | October 12, 2021 | 9:09 PM
Transport Minister Robert Montague has been silent on the issue involving the Airports Authority of Jamaica.

The Opposition has tabled 21 questions for Transport Minister Robert Montague amid the controversy over questionable investment decisions by the board of the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ).

The board has been under scrutiny since the revelation that it flouted government regulations and invested nearly a half-billion dollars in start-up First Rock Capital Holdings.

A Gleaner investigation has found that the AAJ Group invested taxpayers' money in First Rock despite an initial board recommendation against the move.

READ: AAJ went against the board and invested in First Rock, probe reveals

During Tuesday's sitting of the House of Representatives, Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson tabled the questions on behalf of Mikael Phillips, the spokesman on transport and mining.

Opposition's questions for the Transport Minister:

1. Does the Minister retain confidence in the board of the AAJ in light of its investment in First Rock?

2. If the answer to part 1 is in the affirmative, can the Minister state his reasons?

3. If the answer to part 1 is not in the affirmative, will the Minister indicate why the Board is still in place?

4. Has the Minister met with the board of AAJ since the media reported on its investment in First Rock?

5. If the answer to part 4 is in the affirmative, can the Minister indicate what was the outcome of that meeting?

6. Would the Minister indicate his reasons for remaining silent on the issue of the AAJ's investment in First Rock, four months after the matter became public?

7. Can the Minister say whether he had asked for any investigation into the investment portfolios of the AAJ and the Norman Manley International Airport Limited?

8. If the answer to part 7 above is in the affirmative can the Minister indicate the following:
a) when was that request made?
b) has a report been submitted regarding this investigation?
c) what were the results of the investigation?

9. Can the Minister indicate whether the AAJ's shares in First Rock have now been sold?

10. If the answer to part 9 above is in the affirmative, can the Minister indicate the following:
a. for how much were the shares sold?
b. whether the AAJ incurred any losses in selling the shares?
c. what were the reasons behind the decision to sell?

11. If the answer to part 9 above is not in the affirmative, will the Minister indicate the reasons for this decision?

12. Can the Minister say whether any AAJ board member was serving as a director of First Rock while serving on the board of the AAJ?

13. If the answer to part 12 above is in the affirmative can the minister indicate the following:
a. the period of this overlap
b. whether this overlap was declared?

14. If the answer to part 12 is in the affirmative and it was not so declared, can the minister say whether this was found to be acceptable?

15. Can the Minister indicate whether any board member of the AAJ was a shareholder of First Rock at any of the times that the AAJ bought shares in First Rock?

16. If the answer to part 15 above is in the affirmative, can the Minister indicate the following:
a. whether the Board member shareholder was also a director of First Rock?
b. whether this state of affairs was declared?
c. whether the individual is currently a member of the AAJ Board and in what capacity is the individual serving?
d. whether the minister deems the foregoing state of affairs as acceptable?

17. Can the Minister state whether the AAJ board considered a recommendation not to invest in First Rock in 2019?

18. If the answer to part 17 above is in the affirmative, can the minister indicate the following:
a. when the recommendation was considered by the board?
b. why the recommendation was not heeded?

19. Can the Minister state when the decision was made to buy the shares in First Rock?

20. Can the Minister indicate how many eligibility criteria AAJ used to assess First Rock prior to the 2019 investment?

21. Can the Minister indicate how many of the eligibility criteria First Rock met?

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