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Concerns mount as JEEP rolls out

Published:Thursday | March 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM

AS THE Government's Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) hits the road today, there are increased concerns that the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Audrey Sewell, has been kept out of the loop on the implementation of the project.

A team from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) reported that Sewell told them she could not provide the oversight body with further information on JEEP as she was yet to receive basic information on the programme.

Sewell reportedly told the OCG team, which made an unannounced visit at the ministry on Tuesday to sequester JEEP documents, that she allegedly learnt about this week's planned launch of the programme through the media, although she was the accounting officer.

Lack of information

In a confidential memorandum, dated March 20, to portfolio minister Dr Omar Davies, the permanent secretary said: "I am writing to express my concern that there is a lack of information flow to me regarding the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme.

"I call attention (to) the fact that the programme is being closely monitored by the OCG, and recently I was written to by the contractor general and asked to respond to specific questions regarding the programme," she stated.

In her memorandum, Sewell told Davies she informed the contractor general that as soon as information became available, she would furnish details of the outstanding matters.

"It is, therefore, of concern that I learnt through the media of the planned launch of the programme and the allocation of $10 million per constituency.

"I am requesting that I be advised as soon as possible whenever decisions are taken about the programme, especially as they relate to expenditure since they have implications for procurement," the permanent secretary concluded.