Political Ombudsman raises concern about timing of Junction road project

Donna Parchment Brown
The Political Ombudsman has written to the prime minister raising concern about the timing of the $626 million Junction road project in St. Mary.
The Parliamentary Opposition has complained that the project could be used by the Government to influence the outcome of the impending by-election in the constituency of St. Mary South Eastern.
Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown, on Tuesday afternoon outlined the contents of two letters sent to Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
She said the letters were drafted against the background of concerns raised by the Contractor General about last year's $600 million debushing programme which was carried out ahead of the Local Government Election. 
In her letters, Mrs Parchment Brown said she requested the prime minister's feedback on matters concerning "the way in which the contracts were assigned, the way in which the work packages were developed, the role of certain ministers, the role of facilitators and others in handling public money and the timing of the project."
In addition, the political ombudsman raised concern "that any project that's announced after the 14th of August or finalised after the 14th of August may tend to raise the question in the public domain as to whether it is public funds being improperly used." 
She is awaiting clarification from the prime minister.
Meanwhile, the Political Ombudsman met on Tuesday with representatives of the two politicial parties to discuss concerns about the Junction road project.     
However, Dr. Horace Chang, Jamaica Labour Party General Secretary, was absent.
PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson and Dr. Shane Alexis, PNP's representative in St. Mary South Eastern, along with the JLP's Dr. Norman Dunn were present.
Apart from discussions surrounding the Junction road project, Mrs Parchment Brown said the small group had a "cordial discussion" on several matters, including the standards of political conduct, as well as "any concerns they may have about any issues in the constituency going forward."

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