JFJ Press Release: Jamaica needs Transparency and Accountability for IDB ‘JEEP’ loan

Jamaica needs Transparency and Accountability for IDB ‘JEEP’ loan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012, Kingston, Jamaica – Jamaicans For Justice (JFJ) is convinced that now is the time for greater transparency and accountability in governance particularly as it relates to the roll out of the recently announced Inter American Development Bank (IDB) loan which the government has branded part of the ‘JEEP’ programme.

Firstly, the Government needs to explain how much counterpart funding is needed for this IDB loan and exactly where it is going to be coming from. This would help to fulfill the promise of transparency and accountability in the conduct of the nation’s affairs that was given by the Prime Minister.  In the absence of such openness it will be difficult to reconcile that on the one hand the Finance Minister is coming to Parliament to announce more cuts and austerity and on the other hand we will be laying out millions of dollars of counterpart funding to enable ‘JEEP’.

Secondly, it is completely unacceptable that Members of Parliament will have the responsibility of selecting persons to work on the project.  This is the old style discredited politics of ‘scarce benefits and spoils’ whereby party supporters get work in disproportionate numbers to those of other or no political persuasion.  Already we see one MP reported as saying that of his quota of 50 jobs “based on consultations with councilors…10 of the people selected are supporters of the JLP, five did not vote in the last election and 35 were PNP supporters”.

This approach of MPs deciding who gets work on the basis of party affiliation has contributed to the wastage of tax payer’s money over many decades and divided us along tribal political lines.  It is completely unacceptable and must be stopped.  In this 21st Century the people of Jamaica must see competitive selection processes which result in the most competent persons getting the jobs.  That is the only fair and acceptable way to conduct the nation’s affairs and to assure taxpayers get the best value for their hard earned money.

We call on the Prime Minister, the most Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller to immediately tell Jamaica: 1.) How much Jamaican taxpayers will have to find to match the IDB ‘JEEP’ loan and where that money will come from

2.) To immediately halt the selection of workers by MPs and hand that process to the relevant agencies of Government in order to ensure that a transparent and fair process for selecting workers is put in place which sees the most able persons employed.