Churches express 'deep disappointment' at Petrojam saga

Friday, December 14, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has expressed “deep disappointment” at reports of “mismanagement, malfeasance and misconduct” at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica and its subsidiary, Petrojam Limited.

The JCC was responding to a report from the Auditor General Office last week which pointed to high levels of unaccountable oil losses at Petrojam; instances of management overriding procurement guidelines, poor management of capital investment projects and consultancy arrangements, inconsistent recruitment and employment practices, and inadequate oversight and monitoring of Petrojam operations.

“We hail those who have assisted in bringing these matters to the public's attention, especially the Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis and her team, and urge them to remain focused in their quest for a better Jamaica,” the JCC said in a statement this morning.

The group of churches argued that this saga could become the “tipping point in our quest as a nation to develop and embrace an impartial and robust framework of accountability”.

“Over the years similar incidents have only resulted in assurances by both political parties that they will act decisively in stemming this cancer only for things to remain the same with the passage of time.

“In the instant case, the JCC notes the prime minister's intervention and welcomes the ordering of a forensic investigation,” the JCC reasoned.

The church group however argued that it is their view that many Jamaicans, particularly young people, who have disengaged from our political life, need more than just investigations.

“Our sense is that a growing number of Jamaicans are of the view that our public servants, especially those elected by the people of Jamaica, ought to be held to a very high standard and where they have violated that trust then they should be held accountable,” it added.

The JCC further argued that were our existing laws to take their course and the relevant people in this saga made to account, that will assist in rebuilding public trust.

“Indeed, let's seize this moment as an opportunity for the dawning of a new day when we, citizens, leaders and institutions order our affairs by probity, transparency, accountability and efficiency,” the statement said.

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