In a statement today, Mr. Wright said news reports indicate that the land allocation was done through an unsolicited proposal with no tender or financial proposal from Holland Producers, a director of which is the paramour and live-in partner of the Minister.
The PNP Shadow Minister said this could not be ignored because the land is owned by the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ), which is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) and this falls directly under the purview of the portfolio Minister J.C. Hutchinson.
“What is worse is that the Holland Producers’ director is also Chairman of the RADA St. Elizabeth Board of Directors and a member of the RADA national board and would, therefore, be aware of insider information on the land availability and the Ministry’s plans. Consequently, the land arrangement puts Holland Producers at a disproportionate advantage over other interests, and this cannot be allowed to stand,” Mr. Wright said.
He said the process of arriving at the lease arrangement is exceptionally troubling as it closely resembles the recent Holywell land scandal, where protected lands were to be leased to the portfolio Minister of Land.
Mr. Wright said the Holland land lease arrangement needed to be immediately halted, and the Integrity Commission conducts a thorough examination of the contractual agreement, which has been executed without due process and disclosure of the financial arrangements, including the value placed on the land in the lease.
The PNP spokesman said the party was in possession of more information, which indicates that current employees of RADA are also directors of Holland Producers, and the government farm store located on the Holland property is also being managed by persons connected to the Minister.
Even more disturbing, Mr. Wright stated, is a claim by SCJ Chairman, Mr. Joseph Shoucair that Holland Producers Limited was recommended for the lease by connected parties in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mr. Wright said action by the Integrity Commission is urgently needed to ensure that the people of Jamaica are not once cheated by a corruption enabling mechanism, established to exploit the continued lack of oversight and looseness within the Andrew Holness-led administration.
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