More determined action needed by PM, says Phillips

Senior staff reporter

Thursday, March 21, 2019

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With the expulsion of Ruel Reid from the Cabinet coming less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Andrew Holness again vowed to root out corruption in the public sector, through reform of board appointments and the conduct of directors, the Parliamentary Opposition says there is a lack of determined action by the Government.

“I make of the sacking of the minister, positive proof that the cancer of corruption has taken root in the Holness Administration and that there is a circumstance in the Government that no amount of words is going to solve. It will require much more determined action,” Dr Phillips stated yesterday at an emergency press conference called to respond to Reid's sacking.

Reid was fired by Holness yesterday in the wake of allegations of corruption at the education ministry and one of its agencies.

Phillips said he was also surprised by most of what the prime minister said in his 2019/20 budget presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“Maybe his experience of Government has been different from mine, but it has always been the case in every Administration of which I have been part, that board members have required the authorisation of the minister involved when travelling on Government business. Maybe he changed that, but it has always been the case in my experience,” Phillips said.

Holness had announced on Tuesday that under new policy guidelines for the appointment and conduct of boards of public bodies, portfolio ministers' approval will have to be sought for official travel of board members.

Phillips also argued that it has always been the case that when a board appointment is being made, the Cabinet and ministry responsible for the appointment are required to do appropriate vetting.

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