Leader of Jamaican main opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Dr. Peter Phillips has called for the immediate resignation of Energy Minister Dr. Andrew Wheatley in the wake of a scandal at the state owned own refinery, Petrojam.
Wheatley must take responsibility
Phillips, during a meeting of the party’s National Executive Council (NEC), in the south eastern parish of St. Catherine on Sunday, said that in the wake of allegations of mismanagement and nepotism at Petrojam, Wheatley must take responsibility as the controversy occurred under his leadership.
Minister most go
“Now it is clear that the minister has breached public trust and his position in office cannot be sustained ….The minister must go.”
The opposition leader also said that Prime Minister Andrew Holness owes the country an explanation regarding the Petrojam saga.
“The Prime Minister presided over the Cabinet that appointed the absentee board, with a chairman resident overseas. Someone has to answer to the issue to how the board was appointed. When two of the three Jamaican board members did not live in Jamaica….”
According to Phillips – Petrojam has been the scene of victimization; the misuse, divergence and possible theft of taxpayer resources; and fraud.
Phillips charged that the prime minister also chaired the Cabinet that approved a contract for the building of a wall at Petrojam that incurred a massive cost overrun.
In recent weeks, the refinery has been engulfed in controversy , including questionable spending and allegations of breaching the government’s procurement guidelines.
Three board members resigned
In the wake of the scandal, three board members – including the chairman, tendered their resignations and have since been replaced .
Last week, the Andrew Holness led administration issued instructions to the Permanent Secretary in the Energy Minister, Hillary Alexander, to prepare a report on the operations of Petrojam.
Chang disclosed that the government is prepared to wait on the report before taking action – if warranted.