Friday 14 August, 2020

Phillips backs Hanna, Paulwell amid calls for their sacking

Dr Peter Phillips at a People's National Party (PNP) meeting in Montego Bay, St James on Sunday with the party's councillors and councillor/candidates.

Dr Peter Phillips at a People's National Party (PNP) meeting in Montego Bay, St James on Sunday with the party's councillors and councillor/candidates.

President of the People’s National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips, has given his full backing to Members of Parliament (MPs), Lisa Hanna and Phillip Paulwell, amid recent call for their sacking.

Hanna, the South East St Ann parliamentary representative, was recently cleared of any criminal charge by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Paula Llewelyn, who, however, chided her for her supposed support of a culture of negligence and cronyism.

The DPP's view came in response to a submission by then Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, who asked Llewelyn to determine whether Hanna should be criminally charged for her involvement in the awarding of a number of contracts by the then People's National Party (PNP)-led St Ann Municipal  Corporation between 2011 and 2015.

The contracts were given to what the DPP reportedly labelled as PNP "cronies" in Hanna's South East St Ann constituency.

The DPP indicated that the contractor general's findings revealed “a culture of negligence and unethical management in the award of contracts developed in the St Ann Municipal Corporation, acting under the aegis of Miss Hanna.”

Lisa Hanna

The DPP’s report also suggested that an impartial and fair-minded observer could legitimately form the view that the then PNP-led St Ann Municipal Corporation was being used as a vehicle through which PNP cronies were awarded CDF funds and contracts.

The execution of the awards was inadequately supervised, which potentially amounted to egregious breaches of policy guidelines, the DPP further opined.

In addressing councillors and councillor/ caretakers from regions one and six of the PNP at the S Hotel in Montego Bay on Sunday, Phillips trumpeted his support for the St Ann parliamentarian.

"In relation to Comrade Hanna, the situation is simple. The DPP has said that there is no basis for prosecution. There is nothing for her to answer in that regard," Phillips said.

The Integrity Commission, in its report on its special probe into activities at the scandal-hit Petrojam refinery, raised questions about a $6 million donation to Camperdown High School in East Kingston by the refinery. The money was to be used to construct a mini stadium at the school.

Phillip Paulwell

According to the commission, the request for the donation was made by Phillip Paulwell, the Opposition MP for East Kingston and Port Royal, who told the commission’s director of investigation (DI) that the letter he wrote soliciting the donation “was done on the advice of the then Energy Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley”.

However, in its report, the commission stated that neither Paulwell nor Valentine Bailey, Principal of Camperdown High School, have been able to provide the commission with banking information to prove that more than $4 million, part of the funds donated to the school by Petrojam, was placed in an interest-bearing account.

Phillips said there was no wrongdoing on the part of Paulwell, who has since been exonerated by the school board.

"Phillip Paulwell made representation on behalf of Camperdown High School. Monies were transferred from Petrojam to Camperdown High School. Their (the school) board has confirmed it; he did nothing wrong in that regard," Phillips said.

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