Ramadhar: Who paid for Jack’s Jamaica trip?
Congress of the People (COP) leader Prakash Ramadhar yesterday called on Independent Liberal Party (ILP) interim leader Jack Warner to clarify the details of a Jamaica trip, which he and members of his staff took which he (Warner) claims to have paid for.
Ramadhar, in a letter to Warner, asked the former minister to address the serious questions raised, including who funded the lavish trip in January 2011, whether taxpayers’ money was used, and why the details of the trip were not reported in accordance with the law by those who went on it.
“The public deserves an explanation as to 1) who paid for this trip; 2) whether (Warner’s) travel to this luxury resort was related to official business, or simply a private holiday; 3) whether public funds were expended as part of the trip; and 4) why (Warner) did not file a disclosure under the Integrity in Public Life Act in connection with this trip,” Ramadhar said.
“As public officials, we owe it to the people we represent to maintain the highest level of ethical standards, to be transparent about our dealings, and to comply with the laws that we are sworn to uphold. This is particularly important now as people prepare to make key decisions about which party to back in the upcoming elections,” Ramadhar stated.
The Integrity Commission has written to former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works, Cheryl Blackman, seeking an explanation for the all-expenses trip paid to Jamaica which Warner stated had been paid for by him.
The commission raised questions about whether Blackman had received a “gift”. Under the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA), a person in public life is required to disclose to the commission all gifts received in excess of $5,000. The price of a return ticket to Jamaica and the cost of accommodation and meals at the Pegasus Hotel (where Blackman stayed), would have cost in excess of $5,000.
Permanent secretaries fall under the act.