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PNP wants Spence-Jarrett out

Published:Saturday | April 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE OPPOSITION spokesman on information, Lisa Hanna, has called for the removal of June Spence-Jarrett as head of the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ).

Spence-Jarrett, who was transferred out of the job of commissioner of corrections after a damning report in the aftermath of the Armadale tragedy, was sent to the PBCJ as chief executive officer.

In making the call for Spence-Jarrett to step aside, Hanna accused Prime Minister Bruce Golding of abusing his power by appointing the former commissioner of corrections without due process.

Hanna points to the section of the regulation governing the PBCJ which says the power to appoint the CEO of the Corporation lies with the board.

"Until Mrs Jarrett's appointment accords with the act, her appointment must be revoked with immediate effect," said Hanna in a press release.

The opposition spokesman lamented that the matter of Spence-Jarrett's appointment is compounded by the fact that the appointment lacked transparency.

She said the post of CEO, left vacant by the sacking of Leighton Thomas who was fired last year, had not been advertised and that Spence-Jarrett does not have either training or a track record in broadcasting, media production and/or media management.

"It is nothing short of an abuse of power for the prime minister to arrogate to himself powers which are not provided for in the act," Hanna said.

Meanwhile, Hanna blasted the Government for not appointing a board even though the act governing the PBCJ makes provision for this to be done.

Yesterday, minister with responsibility for information, Daryl Vaz, told The Gleaner that the Government will be providing a "comprehensive response to Hanna's claims on Monday". He also said that Spence-Jarrett is merely acting in the position of CEO of the PBCJ.

Spence-Jarrett lost her job as commissioner of corrections after a commissioner of enquiry into the fire at the Armadale juvenile facility found that her department was negligent in discharging its duty to protect the wards. Seven girls died in the fire.