PM’S Failure to update Nation on Official trips, unacceptable – G2K

ImageG2K has labelled Prime Minister Simpson-Miller’s seeming reluctance to update the country on any of her many official trips as unacceptable.

The organization noted that the Prime Minister has taken no less than five (5) official trips and, to date has not provided a report to the people of Jamaica of the outcomes of these excursions.

The most honourable Prime Minister is acting as if she is travelling about her own business and not that of the people of Jamaica, with trips paid for by the people of Jamaica. Not only has the Prime Minister been travelling with quite sizeable delegations in these austere times, but to date the country is unable to pin point how it has benefited from a number of these escapades.” said Floyd Green, President of the organisation.

 

Specifically the organisation mooted that the people of Jamaica have not been told of the outcomes from the following tips:

  • Mrs. Simpson-Miller’s May visit to the 67th session of the Africa Union, where she headed a sizeable contingent and was expected to explore issues of trade with African Nations;
  • The June 2013 visit of Prime Minister Simpson Miller to Nicaragua where she attended a heads of State summit on the PetroCaribe arrangement;
  • The CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad in July 2013, where one would have expected the Prime Minister to discuss Jamaica’s current trade deficit with our CARICOM partners and barriers to regional trade; and
  • The Prime Minister’s August, 2013 visit to China, which has been mired in confusion regarding the future of Goat Island.
  • G2K is reminding the Prime Minister that along with the people of Jamaica, overseas interests are keenly observing the government’s actions, or lack thereof.

It would be to the detriment of the entire nation if investors and business leaders, both local and international, were to form the opinion that Mrs. Simpson-Miller has neglected to  give updates because she simply has nothing substantial to report.  We hope this is not the case and call upon the Prime Minister to urgently report to the Nation on all of the official trips she has taken since taking office.” added President Green.

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Controversy: Appointment of Colin ‘Trafigura’ Campbell to run bankrupt JUTC – G2K Writes JUTC Chairman

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August 9, 2013

 

Rev. Dr. Garnett Roper

Chairman

Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited

Dear Rev. Roper,

 

Re: Appointment of Collin Campbell

 

In keeping with the broad principles which are enshrined by the Access to Information Act, our organization’s mandate to act in the public’s interest and in the pursuance of transparency and accountability, we hereby request the following information:

  1. The date on which Mr. Campbell’s application for the post of Managing Director was received;
  2. The number of Persons Shortlisted for the Position;
  3. A Copy of the Functions and Responsibilities and the qualification requirements for the position of Managing Director of the JUTC;
  4.  Evidence of Mr. Campbell’s qualifications;
  5. The date that Mr. Campbell’s contract was signed; and
  6. A copy of the contract which has been issued and signed by Mr. Campbell, this should include the remuneration package.

Additionally, it has been reported in the media that Mr. Campbell’s prior experience as Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport was a deciding factor in the interview process. As such, we think it prudent that you share with the country (a) the performance of the JUTC, including the financial statements of the company, during Mr. Campbell’s tenure as Minister of State and (b) any specific initiative which enhanced the operations of the JUTC that can be attributed to Mr. Campbell.

 

Sincerely,

 

Floyd Green

President

 

CC.       Carlene Ross, Company Secretary

The Hon. Omar Davis, Minister of Transport and Works

Ms. Audrey V. Sewell, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works

 

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Where did the $100 million go, Lisa Hanna? “It was not a Grand Gala; it was a big stage show”

Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange yesterday called for an investigation into the spending of the $100 million allocated for this year’s Emancipation and Independence celebrations.

 

“What did they (Government) do with a $100 million for the Independence celebration. It was not reflected in the events that we saw,” said Grange, who spoke with the Jamaica Observer yesterday as she toured with JLP candidate Beverley Prince, who went up against Sheryn Bromfield in the CassiaPark by-election.

 

“That was not a Grand Gala; it was a big stage show,” the Opposition spokesperson quipped.

 

“Certainly Jamaicans went to see the Grand Gala but they saw the wrong Gala; it was a big disappointment [and] an investigation is needed,” said Grange.

 

The Ministry of Youth and Culture said, however, that the celebrations were a success.

 

“This year’s event, which culminated the celebration of the country’s 51st anniversary of Independence, was truly a symbol of what can be attained through collaborative action and synergies,” a release from the ministry stated.

 

The release said the $100 million was spent on all festival and Independence celebratory activities co-ordinated by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission in all parishes, as well as the national level, adding that the Grand Gala was within its budget of $52.8 million.

 

The ministry, meanwhile, expressed thanks and appreciation to all participants, adding that their efforts allowed for “a successful production and execution of thisyear’s Grand Gala event”.

 

N.B. A TVJ Poll on Grand Gala stated that 60%  did not  like and 40% liked.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Where-is-the–100-million_14844705

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Ministers Phillips, Nicholson & Hylton all complicit in the rapid devaluation of JA$

ImageGeneration 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, has expressed deep concern about the Jamaican Dollar passing the JM$100 to US$1.00 mark, making it the first time in history that the Jamaican Dollar has been worth less than 1 US cent.

The continued depreciation of the value of the Jamaican Dollar at this alarming pace is having a devastating impact on all Jamaicans, especially the poor and the middle class. Since January, the massive depreciation in the dollar’s value has been accompanied by noticeable increases in the prices of basic food items and energy costs, which if allowed to continue unchecked, will soon become an unbearable burden on the Jamaican people”, said Floyd Green, president of G2K.

The Organization noted that the failure and obvious inability of key Ministers of the Government to craft and implement a growth agenda is at heart of the continued depreciation of the dollar and stated  that at a time when growth should be given the highest priority:

  • The Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Peter Phillips, has not presented the country with a credible growth plan, therefore fostering an environment that breeds speculation, panic and uncertainty.
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, A J Nicholson, is mute and ineffective as an advocate for Jamaican Businesses abroad that earn foreign exchange and strengthen the Jamaican dollar;
  • The Minister of Industry Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton is seemingly completely lost and unprepared for the upcoming opening of the Panama Canal; an opportunity that could strengthen the economy and rapidly create jobs.

G2K further added that the situation is compounded by the Prime Minister’s failure to lead her Government along the path of sacrifice sharing. While the average Jamaican household is forced to tighten its belt, the Country continues to be burdened the with an oversized Cabinet, wasteful expenditure on consultants, luxury vehicles and no ends of trips and retreats paid for by the Jamaican taxpayers.

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SHAW ON SLIDING DOLLAR (J$100:US$1) – GOVT FIDDLING WHILE ROME BURNS

ImageThe Opposition Jamaica Labour Party today called on the Government of Jamaica to take firm action to halt the continuing precipitous slide in the exchange rate which has now reached the psychologically devastating threshold of over J$100.00 to US$1.00.

In making the call, Opposition spokesman on Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development, Audley Shaw, said that now that the dust has settled since the new IMF Agreement, the new round of devaluation which is now taking place indicates that confidence in the Government’s management of the economy has not returned among the critical stakeholders in the foreign exchange market.

 

Mr. Shaw said that despite the injection of over US$200 million at the BOJ and US$90 million in direct budgetary support from the IMF, the dollar continues to slide although we are not even in a peak season of demand for foreign currency. Equally, the Net International Reserves still remains well below the US$1.0 billion level, which is also a critical benchmark figure.

 

Mr. Shaw also noted that despite pledges made by other multilateral institutions, there are no signs that can lead to an expectation of any significant early draw-downs from these institutions, as these disbursements will depend largely on the institutional capacity of the Finance Ministry to fulfil the requirements for qualification for these funds.

 

Mr. Shaw said that the Government must now stop ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ and take firm, decisive steps that can build investor and stakeholder confidence, halt the slide in the exchange rate and its negative consequences for increased cost of living, and programme a sustained period of stability and predictability that will lead to economic growth, revenue growth and job creation.

 

Mr. Shaw recommended the following measures that can help to restore investor confidence:

 

1. Open immediate and urgent dialogue with the critical stakeholders in the foreign exchange market seeking their support to temporarily fix the exchange rate at the existing level or close to it.

 

2.  Carry out an urgent review of recently imposed tax measures that are hostile to the productive sector, and consider specifically the rollback of the increase in Transfer Tax and Stamp Duties, abolish the Dividend Tax and abolish all taxes on raw materials and capital goods for the Productive Sector.

 

3.  Ramp-up the retooling programme for energy efficiency with low cost loans and grants.

 

4.  Ramp-up the small business investment promotion programme by fast-tracking access to credit and micro-financing; and

 

5.  Fast-track the programme of accessing low cost loans and grants from the IDB, the World Bank and the European Union.

 

Mr. Shaw said that these are minimum requirements that must be implemented by Government to restore confidence and get the economy growing again.

 

Mr. Shaw further stated that the gravity of the situation requires the intervention of the Prime Minister and warned against an over-reliance on the IMF Agreement as a substitute for the sensible, practical action that is needed from the Government.

 

Mr. Shaw said that this situation must be considered as urgent as these new developments in the economy reveals the fragility of the recently concluded IMF Agreement.

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G2K WRITES TO OCG REGARDING DEAD SILENT RICHARD AZAN PROBE

ImageThree months to the day of the commencement of the probe by the Office of the Contractor General into the Richard Azan Spalding Market controversy, Generation 2000, the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, has released a letter sent to the Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, asking him to indicate the proposed date of completion and submission of his report.

The letter which was sent on the 29th day of May, 2013 by president of the organization, Floyd Green, called upon the Contractor General to act in the interest of public and set a reasonable time-frame for the completion of the report. Green also urged the new Contractor General to advise the nation of projected deadlines to complete investigations that are launched in the future, as well as to provide regular updates to the public on the progress of such probes going forward.

Additionally, G2K posed a number of questions to the Contractor General regarding his office’s monitoring of the Government’s mega projects. In particular, the organization asked that “in  light of the pronouncement by the Honourable Minister of Transport, Mr. Omar Davies, in his sectoral presentation to the Houses of Parliament on May 7, 2013, that:

i. “… work has resumed on Section 2 of the North –South link of Highway 2000 and

ii. that the process of land acquisition in relation to Section 1 of the North –South  link of Highway 2000 is moving ahead”

what steps are being taken by the OCG to ensure that there is transparency, accountability and probity in the implementation of the project?”

The Contractor General acknowledged receipt on May 31, 2013 but is yet to provide a substantive response.

 

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JA’S TOURISM MINISTERS SLEEPING OR PARTYING ON THE JOB? RITZ SAGA GROWS

ed bartlett1

“Tourism Minister is at this late stage, seeking to have talks with Playa in a bid to ascertain whether or not they will in fact be purchasing Rose Hall Resorts’ Ritz-Carlton Hotel.”

 

Opposition Spokesman on Tourism & Travel Services, Mr. Edmund Bartlett, is today expressing shock and disbelief at news that Tourism Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeil, is at this late stage, seeking to have talks with Playa in a bid to ascertain whether or not they will in fact be purchasing Rose Hall Resorts’ Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Mr. Bartlett argued that it has been well over a week since the initial announcement of the Ritz’s imminent closure and the impending sale.  It is most disturbing he outlined, that the Minister, who should have been proactive and on the ball from the very outset, is only now moving to confirm whether or not the sale of the Ritz to Playa is on.

“This development speaks voluminously to the extent to which the Minister has fallen asleep on the job and is completely out of touch with developments which have far-reaching implications for the tourism sector” Said Bartlett.

“What is even more disturbing is that the Government itself is a 15% shareholder in the property, and for the Minister to signal his intention to ascertain the facts by way of statements in the press this late in the day, it is clear to us that what we are witnessing are degrees of lacklustre leadership and tardiness of immense proportions.

The Opposition Spokesman went on to point out that the plight of the over 400 workers is foremost in his considerations at this time, and argued that the Minister has up to now, said nothing regarding the fate of these workers who, as it stands, are set to be separated from their jobs.

In closing, Mr. Bartlett said: “The minister’s stewardship leaves much to be desired, and as it stands, we have little doubt as to why the tourism sector under his watch is in the undesirable state it is in; with key performance indicators such as arrivals and earnings this past winter-tourist season trending in the wrong direction.”

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