PNP says raids political

PNP says raids political

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

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THE People’s National Party (PNP) charged yesterday that investigations into contracts awarded by the Manchester, Clarendon and St Catherine parish councils, as well the Portmore Municipal Council are political.

The National Caucus of PNP Councillors, in a release yesterday, added that the investigations were aimed at discrediting the local authorities in light of the pending local government elections.

The local government minister and the contractor general could not be reached yesterday to respond to the allegation.

"The sensational approach seems to be a deliberate attempt to present the local authorities as corrupt," said Dr Angela Brown Burke, the mayor of Kingston and president of the PNP Caucus.

"We remind the Minister of Local Government if he believes in a strong local governance structure he cannot seek to tear it down for narrow political gains. We must work together to strengthen the system, improve weaknesses and ensure accountability," a PNP release quoted Brown Burke.

At the same time, the PNP caucus said it welcomed the call of the Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie for audits at all local authorities. "We believe that the issues of transparency and probity are important pillars of good governance. It is our understanding that the leadership of all local authorities stand ready to cooperate in any investigation being carried out …," she said.

The Association of Local Government Authorities (ALGA) also expressed concern yesterday about the raids on the councils.

"The association is welcoming the probity of the local authorities because we believe in transparency and accountability. However, we must caution pause to caution involved of its heavy-handed approach in carrying out these investigations not to be blindfolded and as such might cause any damage to the integrity of the staff," ALGA said in a release by Scean Barnswell, the mayor of May Pen and a councillor for the PNP.

"The association is hoping that these local authorities are not being targeted because the chairpersons were vociferous in bringing to the fore issues affecting the respective councils.


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