Good move, PM, Paulwell was reckless

Wednesday, May 14, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

The prime minister was right to remove the energy project from Minister Phillip Paulwell's hands. I believe that he was, and is, a passionate advocate for lower energy costs. That, though, is too low a hurdle for praise. All Jamaicans are advocates for lower energy prices. If that were the qualification for the job of minister of energy, hundreds of thousands would qualify.

In his zeal, Paulwell seems to have abandonded expected standards of prudence, diligence and care. Why persist with EWI in the face of obvious questions of credibility? Why proceed if EWI refused to provide audited financials? Why change the terms of the licence given by the OUR? Why seek to interfere with the work of the Office of the Contractor General?

As Mr Aubyn Hill has said, Paulwell seemed to think that the "announcement of US12.88 cents" would, in itself, make it doable. As a result the minister seemed willing to make a mockery of established procedures to facilitate EWI. This led to the worrying state about whether Paulwell was advancing the cause of EWI or the cause of Jamaica.

Zeal and passion are good, but blind zeal and passion are dangerous, especially when the minister who displays these characteristics is vested with so much power. Paulwell was reckless with Jamaica's future and has shown poor judgement in this matter. Left to him, he could have plunged Jamaica into a mountain of trouble. Thank God the prime minister has stepped in. Decisive leadership is what Jamaica needs. I just wish she would be as decisive in other matters.

Matthew Ebanks





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