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Blame Cabinet not Paulwell - Ferguson

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2014    

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Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson said his colleague minister Phillip Paulwell should not be blamed for the handling of the failed bidding process for the 381 megawatt project as it was a Cabinet decision.

According to Ferguson, the decision that was made in respect to Energy World International was not made by Paulwell, who has responsibility for the energy portfolio, and so it is the entire Cabinet which should be blamed for the fiasco.

"It wasn't Phillip Paulwell it was the Cabinet and I stand behind that decision," Ferguson told People's National Party (PNP) supporters during the Port Royal Annual Constituency Conference at Vauxhall High in Kingston on Sunday.

Ferguson, who is also vice president of the PNP, also used the occasion to publicly commend Paulwell for the "good work he has been doing not only in his ministry but also in his constituency".

According to Ferguson, Paulwell should be commended for liberalising the telecommunication sector in Jamaica and for trimming down the cost of telephone call to unprecedented levels.

Meanwhile, Minister Paulwell in his address to supporters in the public session of the conference sought to make it clear that his intentions were all good.

"I come to you with clean hands and my heart is pure," he said.

Paulwell also told the gathering that his sole intention is to create a better life for the people of this country and to help the country grow and that he would continue to take the risk that is needed to move the country forward.

Meanwhile Ferguson assured the supporters that Government is now looking at ways to alleviate the hardship the nation is facing as a result of the arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He pointed out that the Government was aware of the sufferings but asked for their understanding and patience.

"As I come against the background of the difficult climate that we now exist in I'm aware that the comrades are feeling the pressure; I'm aware that the IMF arrangement that we are party to while it is good for Jamaica in the long run... you are out there feeling the pressure," Ferguson said.

But despite the hardship that Jamaicans are experiencing as a result of the stringent IMF conditions, Ferguson said the arrangement is necessary as it is needed to help improve the country's growth and the benefits are already being seen.

Jamaica, he said, is back in the market having lost its credibility in the international market place.

"And it is since we came back to power and they were there saying that we could never try the IMF arrangement and we strike the arrangement and we pass four test already and we going on," he said.

"But while we are doing that I want you to understand that in this difficult period as a Cabinet we are looking now to see how we can organise to ensure that in this difficult times in the constituencies some things can gwaan," he added.

He urged the supporters not to complain when they do not see their members of Parliament (MP) but to work with their Councillors as the MPs are out there fighting to get the country's economy going.

"Inspite of the IMF, inspite of difficulties we are moving to do the best that we can with the resources we have, " Ferguson said. " It's not an easy task so we beg for your support."

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