AG: Ramharrack gag was wrong

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Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte discusses with Prime Minister Andrew Holness a section of the ministry paper on the use of non-disclosure agreements in public-sector contracts in Gordon House on Tuesday.
Ian Allen/Photographer
Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte discusses with Prime Minister Andrew Holness a section of the ministry paper on the use of non-disclosure agreements in public-sector contracts in Gordon House on Tuesday.

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte says the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) between the scandal-ridden state-owned oil refinery Petrojam and its former human resource manager Yolande Ramharrack was “ill-advised”.

“Non-disclosure clauses are useful where there is a good reason to protect the information being held confidential. I think we can all agree that the use of the non-disclosure agreement in that contract in question was ill-advised and bad. I don’t think there is doubt at all about it, in light of all of the circumstances,” Malahoo Forte, who advises the Cabinet on legal matters, told The Gleaner. “But we shouldn’t throw away a good tool because it has been poorly, badly or ill-advisedly applied in a particular case.”

Last week, details of Ramharrack’s $13.3-million deal with Petrojam, which were initially shielded from the public under an NDA, were made public. She walked away with $4.1 million after deductions.

Ramharrack, who was hired without the required academic qualifications, was facing 19 disciplinary charges for allegedly utilising her position to cause improper use of Petrojam funds, among other things, when she resigned. The settlement agreement was signed on November 14 and approved the following day.

In an interview withThe Gleaner after the ceremonial opening of Parliament last Thursday, Malahoo Forte said that while NDAs are not uncommon, the one signed with Ramharrack was not appropriate.

“Settlement agreements are not uncommon, termination agreements are not uncommon, use of confidentiality clauses is not uncommon. In the particular circumstances of the HR manager, I think that the use of the confidentiality clause was wrong,” the attorney general said.

policy to fix issue

She expressed hope that a policy direction tabled in Parliament recently will iron out these issues.

“Statutory bodies can be sued and sue in their own right, and they can consult with their own lawyer. You’d note that the recent policy direction that was tabled in Parliament mandates the statutory bodies – the board of the bodies – to consult with the relevant minister if there’s an issue in respect of a non-disclosure agreement that is likely to be controversial. So if you look on the three-pronged guidance that has been given by the prime minster, it should cover, once implemented, the issues that arose in the Petrojam matter,” Malahoo-Forte said.

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News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20190218/ag-ramharrack-gag-was-wrong

PNP’s Andrea Moore vows to campaign after Bloomfield’s burial

Contributed
Andrea Moore

Andrea Moore, the woman who has spent years positioning herself to be the People’s National Party’s standard-bearer for the constituency of Portland East, has made it clear that as soon as former Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield is buried, she will resume her campaign.

Moore, an attorney-at-law, had defeated Bloomfield in a vote in the run-up to the last general election in 2016. However, Bloomfield was allowed to remain as the PNP’s candidate for the constituency.

He eventually won against the Jamaica Labour Party’s Derron Wood by more than 2,000 votes, despite the tension caused by the political tussle between himself and Moore.

Three years after his second election victory, he was killed, leaving a vacancy in Parliament.

And although the leadership of the PNP has said it will be selecting the next candidate to contest the by-election when announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Moore appears to be raring to go as the frontrunner.

“It is expected that following the thanksgiving for the life of Comrade Bloomfield, the process of choosing a candidate-successor will begin,” Moore wrote in a message to her “East Portland family”.

“And at that time, I will resume my campaign to represent you,” she added.

Moore could face resistance as PNP insiders have said the party is looking beyond Moore for Bloomfield’s successor.

Last year, Ann-Marie Vaz was introduced to the constituency as the JLP’s caretaker.

Since then, she has been actively campaigning, but said she would suspend her activities until Bloomfield has been buried.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has given no indication as to when he intends to send the constituents of Portland East to the polls though Dr Horace Chang, the JLP’s general secretary, has said the prime minister would announce a by-election date “soon”.

Bloomfield’s funeral will take place on Saturday at the Open Bible Church, Folly Road, at 11 a.m.

He will be interred at Prospect Cemetery.

[email protected]

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20190218/pnps-andrea-moore-vows-campaign-after-bloomfields-burial

Time come!

Norman Grindley
File Daryl Vaz

Five subcontracts valued at more than US$22 million are to go to tender this week for roadworks in St Thomas and Portland, according to government minister Daryl Vaz. This follows the allocation of more than J$8.4 billion in the 2019-2020 Budget.

The Government made the allocation to fund its ambitious plan to rehabilitate more than 100 kilometres of roadways across the eastern end of the island.

This represents the South Coast Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP), which has been in the pipeline for some time now.

A subcontractor is to be selected by mid-March.

Further, Vaz said work on the proposed highway from Harbour View in St Andrew, to Yallahs in St Thomas, is set to commence by year end.

“CHEC (the main contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company) will complete the design work for the highway, which will take approximately six months. So [construction of] that highway will start by the end of this year,” Vaz told The Gleaner.

In recent months, residents in several communities across St Thomas have staged a series of protest action to draw attention to the poor road conditions in the parish. The announcement by Vaz could be welcome news for residents and business operators who saw the SCHIP derailed last year after $3.1 billion was slashed from the $3.6 billion allocated by the Government.

Vaz conceded that for decades infrastructure development has eluded St Thomas and Portland, but insisted that SCHIP will be a “game-changer” for both parishes.

“The people have been more than patient. I’m committing, on behalf of the Andrew Holness Government, that eastern Jamaica, St Thomas, and Portland, will feel the prosperity of the new Jamaica,” said Vaz, who is also minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

He explained, too, that the SCHIP was delayed last year because of “protracted negotiations” with China Exim Bank and Jamaica’s finance ministry. “China Exim changed the terms and conditions of the previous loan agreement,” Vaz explained.

Four of the five subcontracts set to go to tender next week are for the roadways between Morant Bay and Serge Island, valued at US$5.1 million; Serge Island and Cedar Valley, valued at US$5.5 million; Morant Bay and Prospect, valued at US$4.8 million; and Hordley and Long Road, valued at US$2.3 million, all in St Thomas.

The other subcontract is for the strip of road between Manchioneal and Fair Prospect in Portland, valued at US$5.1 million.

According to Vaz, they are among 15 “road packages” between St Thomas and Portland that are to be subcontracted by CHEC to local contractors.

The remaining subcontracts, he said, could be awarded into the next fiscal year.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20190218/time-come-south-coast-highway-project-goes-tender-week

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Not in departure lounge – Samuda aims for another term

Romario Scott
Veteran Jamaica Labour Party MP Karl Samuda tells Labourites at a JLP Area Four Council meeting in St Andrew South yesterday that he is not ready to leave the political scene. He told party supporters that he is planning to run for another term before quitting.

Veteran politician Karl Samuda has issued a warning to those jostling for his St Andrew North Central seat, declaring that he is not yet ready to leave.

Speaking at a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Area Council Four meeting in South St Andrew yesterday, Samuda said his job in politics was not yet complete.

“Anyone looking to take my place … under the democratic system that we operate, everyone is free to try to represent any constituency.

“But anyone wishing to challenge me – which is the only way at this time that they can replace me – I welcome them. As to whether they will succeed or not, that will depend on the people, but I wouldn’t bet on it,” Samuda told Labourites.

J.C. Hutchinson, member of parliament for St Elizabeth North West, had also declared that he would be running another term on the JLP’s ticket.

still work to be done

There have been whispers that two government senators and one deputy general secretary in the JLP have been eyeing the St Andrew North Central constituency, which is one of the safest JLP seats.

Samuda is one of the longest-serving MPs in Gordon House at this time, but the veteran lawmaker said there was still much work for him to do.

Specifically, he mentioned the areas of water, housing and infrastructure, portfolios over which he is currently the man in charge operating out of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

“I undertake to work tirelessly to ensure that the communities that are now experiencing difficulties and, in some cases, have never had water supply, that we are going to put in water supply through water harvesting, refurbishing of wells and storage facilities so that in each community, if you have a water lockoff, you can have many reservoirs so that the people can get water.”

The minister of government said he regarded it as a right for every person to have access to clean and safe water.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20190218/not-departure-lounge-samuda-aims-another-term

Fayval summons Petrojam team over gas alarm

Ian Allen
File Faval Williams

Newly appointed Minister of Energy, Science and Technology Fayval Williams yesterday summoned Petrojam’s technical team following a Sunday Gleaner story citing fuel concerns at the state-owned oil refinery.

In a news release yesterday, the ministry reported that Williams had been in communication with the board chairman, Paul Hoo, as well as acting manager, refinery optimisation and business support at Petrojam, Telroy Morgan, instructing that the technical team be gathered for a meeting at the ministry’s head office.

A full briefing on the issues was held to gain understanding of the matters at hand.

The ministry noted that all entities that interact with the industry, and have responsibility to ensure the integrity of the product, would be required to hold review meetings within a 24-hour period expected to end today. Reports from the meetings, according to the ministry, will be submitted to their respective ministers, copying Williams on the issue.

The ministry is taking the necessary steps and will update the country of any and all findings as soon as they become available.

A Sunday Gleaner article yesterday stated that despite denials from Petrojam that its supplies are not compromised, a source who has intimate knowledge of operational deficiences at the oil refinery has explained the source of the smelly gas and warned that it could undermine vehicle performance and threaten long-term damage. Auto mechanics have also confirmed vehicle-performance woes.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20190218/fayval-summons-petrojam-team-over-gas-alarm

Chris Gayle will retire from one-day international cricket after ICC World Cup

Chris Gayle will retire from one-day international cricket after ICC World Cup

by Dwight Fraser

Veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle will retire from one-day international cricket after this year’s World Cup in England and Wales, Windies Cricket announced on Sunday.

The big-hitting 39-year-old opener, who has scored 9 727 runs in 284 ODIs, is set to play his first international since last July against England on Wednesday.

Gayle needs 677 more runs to surpass the great Brian Lara as the West Indies’ all-time record ODI runscorer, a feat he will be hoping to achieve at his fifth World Cup, which starts on May 30.

He has been mainly a T20 specialist since making his last Test appearance in 2014, and most recently played in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this month.

 Since making his debut in 1999, Gayle has also scored a Windies record of 23 ODI hundreds, including the first ever World Cup double century against Zimbabwe four years ago.

The game in Barbados on Wednesday is the first of a five-match series against World Cup favourites England



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Energy Minister holds meeting with Petrojam’s technical team amidst fuel concerns

Energy Minister holds meeting with Petrojam’s technical team amidst fuel concerns

by Donique Weston

There is no word yet following a meeting with the Energy Minister and Petrojam’s technical team earlier this afternoon (February 17).

 

A release from the ministry said Energy Minister Fayval Williams, summoned Petrojam’s technical team to a meeting, following recent media reports of fuel concerns at the state owned oil refinery.

 

A full briefing on the issues is expected in order to gain understanding of the matters at hand.

 

The statement added that all entities that interact with the industry, and have responsibility to ensure the integrity of the product, will have review meetings within the next 24 hours.

 

Their reports will be submitted to their respective ministers, copying Minister Williams.

 

The Ministry said the Minister is taking the necessary steps and will update the country of any and all findings as soon as they become available.



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Discovery Bay residents contemplate legal action against government over disputed dolphin facility

Discovery Bay residents contemplate legal action against government over disputed dolphin facility

by Donique Weston

Residents of Discovery Bay, St. Ann say they are contemplating taking the government to court over its approval of a captive dolphin facility at Puerto Seco beach in Discovery Bay.

 

For months, residents have protested the development as they say the excrement from the dolphins, would damage the coral reef, as well as, marine life in the fish sanctuary.

 

However, despite the protests, construction has continued on the attraction and residents say they have been told that dolphins could arrive at the facility as early as next week.

 

Speaking on Irie FM’s Africa Forum with Kabu Ma’at Kheru this morning (February 17), president of the Discovery Bay Community Development Committee, Lee Arboin, said citizens are contemplating legal action if the permit is not revoked.

 

 

Miss Arboin lamented that despite more than 20,000 signatures on a petition to the Prime Minister, there has been no response to the citizens’ requests.

 

 

 



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St. Ann police to restart issuing of permits for events in Brown’s Town

St. Ann police to restart issuing of permits for events in Brown’s Town

by Donique Weston

The St. Ann police have reduced its risk ranking for the town of Brown’s Town and have begun to process applications for events to be held in that area.

 

This was announced over the weekend by Deputy Superintendent of the St. Ann police, Ryan Gayle.

 

He noted however that applications will still be subject to vetting by the police before an approval is granted.

 

Since October last year, sections of St. Ann have been placed on red alert by the police due to the threat of violence in those areas.

 

This had resulted in the police not approving any public event planned for those areas.

 

DSP Gayle said that unfortunately sections of Ocho Rios and Steer Town remain on red alert status, and that the police intend to keep it that way until they see some improvement.

 

 

 

 



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Collapsed bridge in Stony Hill disrupts access and water supply

Collapsed bridge in Stony Hill disrupts access and water supply

by Donique Weston

Members of the public are being advised that the Golden Bridge in Stony Hill, St. Andrew has collapsed.

 

The police communications unit says there is no alternative route; however persons can traverse the bridge by foot, with extreme caution.

 

Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, advised in a twitter post that the broken bridge has compromised the main water source to Stony Hill, Temple Hall, sections of Jacks Hill, Sky Line and Mount Ogle.

 

She said the various technical teams were working to find a solution to the unfortunate situation.

 

Meantime, the National Water Commission (NWC) says it is undertaking an assessment of the damage to determine the earliest possible restoration time.

 

This after operations at the Seaview treatment plant in St. Andrew were shut down following the dislocation of the raw water mains that supply the plant.

 

The company is reporting that sections of its mains, which were anchored to the bridge, became dislocated after the bridge collapsed as a truck attempted to make the crossing.

 

The damaged pipeline will result in the loss of approximately 2.2 million gallons per day that is normally distributed to supply a number of communities.

 

The communities will now be impacted by water supply disruptions until the problem is corrected.

 



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