Sad attempts to sully reputation of Paulwell, PNP

Letters to the Editor

Sad attempts to sully reputation of Paulwell, PNP

Monday, July 06, 2020

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Dear Editor,

I am here wondering if the Integrity Commission has deliberately named Mr Philip Paulwell in the Petrojam investigation to achieve equivalence to the quagmire that has now erupted under the present Administration.

Is it that we cannot call a spade a spade so we seek false equivalence as a protective device not to offend one side or the other, or give one side the advantage over the other?

It is unfortunate, because, in this instant, Paulwell has done what every Member of Parliament would have to adhere to the 'rent-seeking' environment in which we live.

On the surface of it, the facts are clear. Paulwell said he was invited by the then Minister of Energy Dr Andrew Wheatley to write Petrojam and request assistance for Camperdown High School's plan to create a sporting complex. There is material evidence that a grant of $6 million was given to the school towards this project, which was deposited into a National Commercial Bank (NCB) Capital Market account bearing the school's name. After the school received the grant Paulwell was no longer involved in the process.

The principal, Valentine Bailey, has provided documentary evidence of the expenditure of the funds, including stating categorically; “Please note the MP was never consulted nor involved in any of the expenditure. Every dollar can be accounted for, and we welcome and stand ready to cooperate with any investigations that may be deemed necessary.” Also, Bailey has provided an income and expenditure summary of the spend on the project, and informed that the balance of the funds was used for utility expenses.

Why then is the Integrity Commission asking Paulwell to account for the school's expenditure of the funds? Is it just the raw politics of the moment to sully the image of the People's National Party's (PNP) co-campaign director? Is there a broader plot to damage the image of the PNP going into the imminent general election?

An answer to those questions should not be attempted without recalling the occurrence, a few months ago, when Paulwell's US visa was surprisingly withdrawn, along with that of Daryl Vaz, without explanation.

It would appear to me that there is indeed an attempt always to create false equivalence of malfeasance around Paulwell and, by extension, the PNP, even when there is no linkage. This effort to taint Paulwell's image should not be seen in a vacuum.

On July 2, 2020, on the RJR's Hotline with Emily Shields, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions revealed that her office had offered a ruling on the matter involving Ian Hayles in Hanover and Lisa Hanna in St Ann. Although she declined to reveal her findings or recommendations, the timing of these revelations so soon after the damning report on Petrojam fuels speculation that there is a plot by State actors to damage the image of the PNP going into the general election.

The governing party is going into the general election campaign with a listing of unresolved issues in the public domain, among the many would be matters involving the police used-car deal, National Energy Solutions (NESol) Limited, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the Universal Service Fund (USF), and the Ruel Reid affair.

Donovan Nelson

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