Retrofitting and unconstitutional benefits

Letters to the Editor

Retrofitting and unconstitutional benefits

Friday, February 28, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has expressed concern about the $130 million on interim lease fees for local government offices off Hagley Park Road in the Kingston 10 area.

The Government of Jamaica has always been in the business of retrofitting offices and precedence can be found in the personal residences of our prime ministers. The prime minister of Jamaica's official residence is Vale Royal. The last prime minister to live there was Edward Seaga in the 1980s. Since then all Jamaican prime ministers have had their personal residences retrofitted at the expense of Jamaican taxpayers.

Since we have not seen any published financial report showing if the money spent on these premises were repaid into the treasury after the retirement of our prime ministers, we need to know how much of our taxes have been used to retrofit the homes of Michael Manley, P J Patterson, Bruce Golding, Portia Simpson Miller, and our current Prime Minister Andrew Holness?

Jamaica House was originally constructed to function both as the office of the prime minister and the official residence. The last prime minister to live there was Michael Manley. I believe that when prime ministers fail to live in the official residence they are tempted to believe that they are to remain in power forever, and taxpayers' monies that are channelled to improve their personal residences are unconstitutional benefits.

Dudley C McLean II
Mandeville, Manchester

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