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OCG wants Gov’t, Opposition to clarify positions on role
2012-09-12 16:50:34 | (0 Comments)
Contractor General Greg Christie wants the government and opposition to clearly state their positions on his office’s monitoring and investigation of government contracts and divestments.
Contractor General, Greg Christie. file photo.
Seemingly frustrated by criticisms of his methods, Christie has written to the Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and the opposition leader, Andrew Holness today, bluntly asking them whether they desire that his office be strengthened or weakened.
Christie said the Office of the Contractor General is currently in a state of organisational ineffectiveness, disillusionment, and uncertainty.
He said it will remain that way unless the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader move urgently to clarify his role.
Christie feels so strongly about the issue that he has suggested steps to be taken to amend the Contractor General Act, to clearly and unequivocally reflect the parliament’s position on the issue.
Christie said the issue is critical because the OCG’s jurisdiction is currently being questioned in the court by the government and a private entity.
In one of the matters, the Transport Ministry has taken his office to court to determine whether the OCG has the authority to requisition a three-member independent panel set up to monitor three major government projects.
A company controlled by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Gorstew Limited, is also questioning whether the OCG has the power to investigate its buying of government shares in the Sandals Whitehouse Hotel.
Christie said it is a waste of taxpayers’ money for his office to be defending these cases.
In his seven-page correspondence, he accuses the People National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party of flip-flopping on the issue of support for his office.
He said they must now clarify what are the OCG’s true mandates under the law.
Meanwhile, in response to Christie’s letter, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness has said the time has come for a full parliamentary debate on the role of the OCG.
He did not state his party’s definitive position on the issue, but said the parliamentary opposition will be formulating a comprehensive response.
Holness said he has publicly supported the OCG and agrees that it is inconsistent with good governance practice that the government would seek to weaken itself by weakening a critical agency of the state.
The Office of the Prime minister has not issued a response to the letter.
The Attorney General Patrick Atkinson said he cannot comment on the issue because he has not seen Christie’s letter.
Source: The Gleaner/Power 106 News
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