Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Paulwell touts accomplishments

Phillip Paulwell

Phillip Paulwell

Phillip Paulwell, the often controversial politician, is into his 22nd year as the Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal, the constituency he has represented since 1997.  He has won five straight parliamentary elections.

He is into his 24th year as a parliamentarian, having spent two years from 1995 in the Senate and as a Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce during the PJ Patterson administration.

At 57-years old, Paulwell, an attorney-at-law, has spent nearly 15 years as a member of the Cabinet, a feat very few in the 63-member House of Representatives can match or better. When he was made Minister of Industry and Commerce by PJ Patterson after the 1997 election, the sky appeared to be the limit for Paulwell, who openly stated that he had ambitions of being Prime Minister of Jamaica one day.

When Paulwell made his contribution to the 2019-2020 Sectoral Debate on Tuesday, April 16, he may have wittingly or unwittingly signalled that he still has ambitions of being prime minister. This he did by blowing his own trumpet. And he did so quite loudly.

At the end of his sectoral presentation, he touted his accomplishments as a Cabinet Minister under both PJ Patterson and later Portia Simpson Miller.

Paulwell critics have long argued that he could well have been on his way to being a future prime minister, were it not for the controversies and scandals, perceived or real, that have dogged him throughout his political career.

"If only Patterson had come down harder on him when he was caught up in his first so-called scandal – the NetServ debacle which at the time cost taxpayers a reported $40 million," one political insider, who asked not to be named, told Loop News.

"Patterson dismissed the incident as mere 'youthful exuberance' and, while he kept his place in successive PNP administrations and was never charged with a crime, Paulwell’s name is now synonymous with scandals and controversies," the insider added.

However, on April 16, in his presentation, he perhaps smartly reminded the parliament and the country that he has been a performer on the big stage.

“I am proud of my achievements,” Paulwell said at the end of his presentation. 

Below, are the things Paulwell said he was proud to have accomplished on behalf of the Jamaican people, including:

- The liberalisation of the telecommunications sector

- Moving Jamaica from being one of the countries with the lowest tele-density levels in the world to one of the highest.

- That the Jamaican model of how to introduce competition in the telecoms sector “has been followed across the length and breadth of the Caribbean.”

- More Jamaicans having access to smart devices and the Internet.

- The establishment of a Universal Service Fund which has accumulated $14 billion and seen over 400 community access points, e-learning and tablets in schools.

- His role in liberalising the motor vehicle industry “so that access to a motor vehicle is no longer restricted to a privileged few.”

- Helped to establish Jamaica as the leading Caribbean state for renewable energy.

- Achieved energy diversification with the introduction of LNG at a ceiling price of US$12.08 cents per kilowatt hour.

- His “pivotal role” in the development of the PetroCaribe agreement, the PetroCaribe Development Fund and the debt buy back negotiations with Venezuela.

- Leading the reforms that led to the modernization of the companies’ law and the promulgation of modern legislation in intellectual property protection.

- Development of anti-dumping laws to protect the country’s manufacturing sector.

- Promulgated “far-reaching consumer protection legislation and amendments to the Fair Competition Act.”

- The “creation of the Spectrum Management Authority, e-Gov Jamaica Limited, e-Learning, NESoL, JIPO, Consumer Affairs Commission, Energy Council, Wigton Wind farm etc, etc…”

- Pioneering role in the creation of a BPO industry and the creation of thousands of jobs in this sector and of getting JISCO to reopen the Alpart plant.

“I am proud that, at all times, my first priority has always been protecting the people and safeguarding their interests,” Paulwell said.

However, unfortunately for Paulwell, regardless of how well he may be doing in the present, he has always been linked with the NetServ, Solutrea, Cuban light bulb, defective cement debacle and the Trafigura scandals/controversies among others.

"Those are achievements that any politician in any country at any time, would be proud of and Paulwell obviously wants to change the conversation about himself, if even a little bit," the political insider said, adding "This is important since he will likely be among the Comrades who will challenge Dr Peter Phillips for leadership of the party."


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