COMPANIES owned by two junior government ministers, Damion Crawford and Colin Fagan, are now free to obtain contracts from the Government, following approval of their exemption by the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives recently.
Crawford is the owner of Yard Travel Limited, a hotel booking company which allows overseas visitors and Jamaicans to make last-minute reservations for Jamaican hotels which may, from time to time, be engaged to perform travel services for the Government of Jamaica for, or on account of, the public service.
Fagan is a director of Docuplus, a document and copy centre that provides services such as photocopying, printing, graphic designing and screen printing, which may, from time to time, be engaged in providing services for the Government and its agencies for, or on account of, the public service.
Section 41 of the Constitution of Jamaica requires that a member of parliament vacate his seat if any firm in which he is a partner, or any company of which he is a director or manager, becomes party to a contract with the Government for, or on account of, the public service or if he becomes a partner in a firm, or a director or manager of a company, which is a party to any such contract.
An MP may seek an exemption, based on a motion moved by the Leader of the House and referred to the Ethics Committee for approval. However, the MP must inform the committee in the event that he/she becomes a party to a government contract.
The committee is chaired by the Speaker of the House, Michael Peart, and includes four Government members and three Opposition members.