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Petrojam officials grilled about the entity's spending

Floyd Grindley, Petrojam's General Manager, answering questions from PAAC members Mikael Phillips, Fitz Jackson and Juliet Holness.
 
Members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) turned up the heat on officials of the State run oil refinery Petrojam on Wednesday, with more questions raised about the state of affairs at the entity, including the issuing of a $13 million contract to an entertainment firm, the $12 million salary package of the Human Resource Manager and travel expenses incurred by the Chairman.
 
The spotlight was on Floyd Grindley, Petrojam's General Manager, who came under fire from some of the committee members for failing to provide satisfactory answers to the issues highlighted.
 
The management of Petrojam has been given three weeks to provide a detailed response to the PAAC.
 
Some members of the committee expressed surprise when it was revealed that Petrojam paid $13 million to the entertainment firm on a retainer to provide public relations and related services.
 
It was explained the company was hired for Petrojam's 35th anniversary events.
 
Petrojam's General Manager then came under fire from Opposition Members Mikael Phillips and Fitz Jackson after it was revealed that a firm - Asha Corporation - was hired by the oil refinery to provide technical services for the installation of a Vaccum Distillation Unit, but payments amounting to millions of dollars were being made directly to an official of the company identified as Rodney Davis.
 
Mr. Grindley faced more heat when it was discovered that Asha Corporation was hired for services which could have been provided by Petrojam's parent company Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ). 
 
"The reason why I'm so concerned about this you know, the profit from Petrojam can help to build schools, repair roads as a government company, and where the money is misspent, the people of Jamaica suffer. That's the consequence of these kinds of decisions that you make," Mr. Jackson lambasted the general manager. 
 
In the meantime, PAAC member Juliet Holness said a full explanation was needed in relation to the $12 million annual salary to Petrojam's Human Resources Manager.
 
"We want to ensure we understand what market pays versus what you're paying and we want to be able to determine if this is more or less than in previous years; what was the person earning before, what was their role, and what is the role of the current HR manager," she outlined as her concerns.  
 
Petrojam's General Manager explained that the entity paid the former HR manager $9.5 million annually and an Industrial Relations manager $5.5 million.
 
But he said based on the skill set of the new HR manager, an industrial relations manager was not needed. 
 
Mr. Grindley said the salary range for the post of HR manager is $9.5 million to $13 million.
 
But there were also questions about the HR manager's qualifications, with Fitz Jackson noting that these would establish whether she has the skillset for the position. 
 
Mr. Grindley responded, saying she had a Bachelor's degree in Human Resource and an MBA as well as "many other certification." However, he said a full list of her qualifications would be provided at a later date. 
 
Mrs. Holness pointed out that staff turnover at Petrojam has been high despite the engagement of  the new HR manager.
 
Pricey plane ticket 
 
Menwhile, an almost US$8000 plane ticket for a trip not taken by Petrojam's chairman also came under scrutiny.
 
It was reported that the chairman paid for the ticket to London himself and was later reimbursed by Petrojam.
 
Petrojam's General Manager explained that the trip was not taken because of weather issues.
 
However, PAAC members described the transaction as irregular.
 
The PAAC was told the sum was repaid to Petrojam by the Chairman recently.
 


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