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Finsac’d creditors seek GG’s intervention

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter ?balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012    

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THE Association of Finsac’d Entrepreneurs (AFE) says it is appealing to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen to intervene into the issues surrounding the delayed completion of the work of the Finsac Commission of Enquiry.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer on Monday, the association’s President Yola Gray-Baker said her membership felt that the only hope for a mutually acceptable resolution of the issue lies with the Governor General.

“The Association of Finsac’d Entrepreneurs would like to use this medium to appeal to the governor general, in the capacity of his unbiased position, to meet with the Commissioners and find some way of assuring that this report be completed and made public, and to meet the purpose for which it was intended,” Gray-Baker said.

She explained that the association had taken the position because “it would appear as if the powers that be are in the enviable position of assuring that the report from the Finsac Enquiry remains dormant”. However, she said that was the very reason why the report should be completed and publicised “and allow the chips to fall where they may”.

Opposition spokesperson on Finance Audley Shaw commented in June that Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips had overstepped his bounds, “when he suggested, in a cavalier manner, that he would only find some (money) for the stenographers and that is about it.”

Shaw had suggested that the commissioners appeal to the governor general for support to complete their work, under the Commissions of Enquiry Act. He explained that the commission, which has been probing the 1990s financial sector meltdown and the role of the Government-owned Financial Sector Adjustment Company Limited (Finsac) in settling the debts, is protected against Government interference, under the Act.

Repeated efforts by the Observer to get a response from Commissioners Worrick Bogle, chairman, and Charles Ross, as well as the secretary to the commission, former Bank of Jamaica executive Fernando DePeralto, have yielded no success.

Calls and voice messages to Bogle and Ross have gone unanswered, while DePeralto insists that he is unable to say anything until the commissioners make a decision.

Meanwhile, the Observer understands that an attempt is being made to reopen an office which was allocated to the commission at the Planning Institute of Jamaica on Oxford Road, New Kingston, last year. After completing their public hearings, the commissioners vacated the nearby Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

Following Phillips’ decision to allocate enough funds to pay a stenographer to type a report, the commission has been considering getting its legal adviser, retired Justice Henderson Downer, to complete an interim report and have it typed and submitted to the Governor General.

The commission, which has been sitting since September 2009, ended public hearings in November 2011. The enquiry has already cost the Government over $50 million.

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