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Contractor general tackles Jamaica 50 budget

By Balford Henry Observer Senior reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, September 01, 2012    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Contractor General Greg Christie has intervened into the controversy surrounding the Government’s spending on the Jamaica 50 Independence Anniversary celebrations.

In a release Friday, the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) said that the decision was prompted by “allegations of irregular and improper” Government spending and “nepotism”, in respect of the independence celebrations in the United Kingdom.

The OCG also noted that public disquiet has arisen over alleged lack of information regarding Government’s expenditure on the celebrations. The review also seeks to ascertain whether “value for money” was obtained.

In letters to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Robert Martin, on August 24 and 29, the OCG requested a copy of the approved budget for the Jamaica 50 Celebrations, together with a full accounting of each budget line item, to include: (a) particulars of all contracts awarded; (b) the names of the respective contractors; (c) the values of the respective contracts; (d) the procurement methodologies that were utilized; and, (e) locations at which each contract was performed.

The Ministry has also been specifically required to particularise all Jamaica 50 goods, services and works procurement expenditures associated with the United Kingdom based events, inclusive of the alleged one million pounds sterling (£1,000,000) expended; air transportation expenditures from Jamaica to the United Kingdom and back; and accommodation expenditures within the United Kingdom.

The Ministry is required to satisfy the OCG’s requisitions by Friday, September 7.

The letters to the Permanent Secretary were copied to Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna, and Jamaica 50 Secretariat project director, Robert Bryan.

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