Op­po­si­tion ready to spar with Gov’t over clean-up pro­gramme

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ro­mario Scott Gleaner Writer

THE PAR­LIA­MEN­TARY Op­po­si­tion is declar­ing that co­op­er­a­tion be­tween it­self and the Gov­ern­ment in the Lower House will not be guar­an­teed.

Leader of Op­po­si­tion Busi­ness in the Lower House of Par­lia­ment Phillip Paulwell yes­ter­day told The Gleaner that the stand­off be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and the Op­po­si­tion over the $600 mil­lion is­land­wide clean-up pro­gramme be­ing car­ried out by the Na­tional Works Agency has left the Op­po­si­tion with lim­ited op­tions.

“We are not go­ing to tol­er­ate this and what­ever it takes to en­sure that the Gov­ern­ment gets the mes­sage, we in­tend to do that,” Paulwell said while adding that the Gov­ern­ment has com­pro­mised the good faith be­tween the Gov­ern­ment and Op­po­si­tion.

Paulwell, the mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for East Kingston and Port Royal, is also claim­ing that the Gov­ern­ment has breached an agree­ment it had with the Op­po­si­tion re­gard­ing how mat­ters re­lat­ing to works

are han­dled, de­vel­oped in re­sponse to a fall­out over the dis­tri­bu­tion of Labour Day work back in May.

Paulwell re­called that the agree­ment was made in June be­tween him­self and Der­rick Smith, the min­is­ter with­out port­fo­lio in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter and leader of gov­ern­ment busi­ness in the Lower House, on the in­struc­tion of Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness.

“Min­is­ter Der­rick Smith and my­self did meet and we agreed that in re­la­tion to these mat­ters, every­body would be made aware and that there would be equal shar­ing of re­sources ex­cept for the leader of the op­po­si­tion and the prime min­is­ter,” said Paulwell.

He ex­plained that the new at­ti­tude the Op­po­si­tion will be em­brac­ing go­ing for­ward would mean that Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters would find it dif­fi­cult to do work on days sched­uled for Par­lia­ment to sit.

TEN­SION NEC­ES­SARY

He said the ten­sion that will re­sult is nec­es­sary to bring home to the Hol­nessled ad­min­is­tra­tion “that we are not go­ing to set­tle for fool­ish­ness”.

Con­tin­ued Paulwell: “Un­til they un­der­stand that they need the sup­port of the Op­po­si­tion

for this coun­try not to get back into a state of civil up­set, I think we have a duty.”

In re­spond­ing to the threat from Paulwell, Smith ac­cused him of un­fairly pre­judg­ing the out­come of an on­go­ing probe.

He ar­gued that hav­ing asked the Of­fice of the Con­trac­tor Gen­eral to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sue, the Op­po­si­tion should have waited for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to con­clude be­fore pro­nounc­ing a ver­dict on the mat­ter.

“To my sure knowl­edge, the con­trac­tor gen­eral has not con­cluded his in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but Mr Paulwell and the Op­po­si­tion have gone ahead and ar­rived at a judge­ment,” Smith said.

Smith said that upon the rul­ing of the con­trac­tor gen­eral, the Gov­ern­ment would take the nec­es­sary ac­tions.

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