Jamaica Contractor General raids offices of employment agency

(Jamaica Observer) The failure of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing to provide the Office of the Contractor General with relevant information related to the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) resulted yesterday in a raid by the OCG on the ministry’s premises, which houses the secretariat.

Contractor General Greg Christie stated later in a news release that the unannounced visit by members of his organisation was to “secure certain documents and records, whether electronic or otherwise, and associated correspondence, which will inform the OCG’s monitoring activity and special enquiry of the JEEP”.

Accompanied by a police officer, the OCG’s team of six inspectors was led by Craig Beresford, the office’s senior director of monitoring operations, corporate communications and special projects. The offices of the ministry’s permanent secretary were searched, along with that which houses the secretariat of JEEP.

It was still unclear what documents were seized by the OCG, but Christie in the news release said that the main objective was to get “certain critical information and documentation, regarding the JEEP, which was formally requisitioned by the OCG, by way of letter that was dated February 27, but which is yet to be provided by the ministry despite the fact that the programme has already been officially operationalised or is about to be operationalised,” the news release said.

The contractor general said that it had requested of the ministry’s permanent secretary, Audrey Sewell, who was shifted there from the ministry of education recently, a list of documents, which her office had not provided for the OCG’s scrutiny.

The list includes:

* Evidence of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and the Public Service’ support for the programme;

* An implementation schedule for the programme, and its associated projects;

* A list, and site location, of all the works projects that are to be implemented under the programme;

* Details of the criteria for the selection and prioritisation of the works projects that are to be implemented under the programme;

* Details of the procurement methodologies which will be utilised, to engage contractors/subcontractors for the relevant projects;

* An indication of how the projects will be monitored/managed.

* A listing of the names of the project managers for the programme/projects along with their contact numbers. This information, the OCG said, has not been provided although it claimed that the permanent secretary had given the commitment that same would be forthcoming once the project manager was engaged;

The OCG said that its heightened interest in the JEEP has also been prompted by concerns that it now has, regarding the administration and operationalisation of the programme, particularly in light of what appears to be certain conflicting statements that have been publicly or otherwise attributed to Jamaica House, the permanent secretary in the ministry and the recently appointed project director for JEEP, Lucille Brodber.


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