Sun | Apr 2, 2023

JLP says it fully supports Clarke in SSL crisis

Published:Monday | January 30, 2023 | 11:30 AM
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke. - File photo.

The ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is accusing the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) of attempting to politicise the current crisis affecting investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL).

SSL is currently under a multi-agency investigation over an alleged multibillion-dollar fraud.

The JLP is accusing the PNP and its supporters of attempting to compromise the investigations.

JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang, in a media statement this morning, said the party stands firmly with Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke in managing this crisis.

Clarke days ago acknowledged that his office received a report from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) on SSL in April 2020. 

READ: Clarke: 2019 SSL report sent to office but 'never brought to my attention'

But he said it was never brought to his attention. 

During a policy address last Monday, Clarke insisted that “... as minister of finance and the public service, neither the FSC board of commissioners nor the FSC executive director nor any person from the FSC has ever raised Stocks and Securities with me in any way.”

The FSC regulates investment houses. 

Clarke also said Audley Shaw, his predecessor, has indicated that he was not aware of any reports on SSL.

But it was later confirmed that almost three years ago, the FSC did send a document to Clarke highlighting some of SSL's financial troubles.

The PNP has blasted Clarke and has called for him to be fully transparent with the public.

But, the JLP has pushed back.

"What has become clear is that this fraudulent activity has been taking place for over 13 years, spanning several administrations. It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the PNP is seeking relevance from this treacherous alleged theft. Their actions are short-sighted and dangerous," he charged.

Chang added, 'The PNP should know that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) is operationally independent and the law provides no role for the Minister in supervisory matters. We commend Minister Clarke for the very decisive, open and transparent approach he is taking to the management of this."

According to Chang, the government has shown that it will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that responsible people are held to account.

"We support Minister Clarke's announcement last week that he has written requesting international forensic experts that Jamaica is willing to pay for and that previous to this announcement, assistance from the FBI had also been sought."

He continued, "Instead of being an impediment, the PNP would do well, in the interest of Jamaica, to partner with the government to fix clearly systematic gaps in the financial sector that span administrations. The government is doing what is right by creating institutional safeguards to prevent the current crisis from recurring.”

Chang asserted that the current posture and actions of the PNP risk undermining confidence in Jamaica's financial sector both locally and internationally.

“This is not a time for political one-upmanship or point-scoring. They must recognise that their actions and that of their surrogates do nothing to move Jamaica forward.”

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