JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A formal investigation has commenced into the circumstances
  • The report concluded that the shops were illegally erected
  • The OCG is recommending that a legislative and/or governance framework be established

The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) special investigation regarding the award of contract(s) to construct/repair and to rent shops at the Spalding Market in Clarendon was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 17.

Contractor General, Dirk Harrison on April 15, publicly announced that a formal investigation has commenced into the circumstances, surrounding the alleged award of contract(s) to construct/repair and to rent shops at the Spalding Market, owned by the Clarendon Parish Council.

The primary aim of the investigation was to ascertain whether there was compliance with provisions of the Contractor General Act and the applicable Government of Jamaica (GoJ) Public Sector Procurement Procedures and the GoJ Public Sector Procurement Regulations (2008), in the award of contract(s) to construct/repair and to rent the shops.

The Contractor General, in his report, concluded that the shops were illegally erected.

He noted that given the finding that officers of the Clarendon Parish Council were reticent in addressing the issue of the illegally constructed wooden shops, an accountability framework should be created and implemented “to clearly outline the reporting relationships and obligations of officers at the parish councils in order to ensure that there is no recurrence of the lack of action, which has tainted the Clarendon Parish Council.”

The report also noted that “given the circumstances, which have surrounded the entire Spalding affair,” the OCG is recommending that a legislative and/or governance framework be established to guide Ministers of Government and Members of Parliament as it concerns their roles, functions, responsibilities and involvement in the decision making processes of public bodies.

“The legislative and/or governance framework should detail the appropriate sanctions, which can be adopted should a Minister and/or Member of Parliament overstep his/her authority as it concerns the functions of a public body,” the report said.

Mr. Harrison also recommended that the Auditor General undertake a review of the financial operations, and accounting systems and practices of the Clarendon Parish

Council having regard to the numerous deficiencies, which have been identified herein as  it regards the collection of revenue, loss of revenue and the recovery of monies payable to  the Clarendon Parish Council.

The Contractor General also recommended that there be an “absolute separation of the responsibilities of the Members of Parliament in regard to the identification and/or approval of projects which are to be undertaken in their Constituency and the selection and/or approval of contractors to execute the identified works.”

“In the event that an absolute separation is not feasible, the CG recommends that the appropriate checks and balances be put in place to ensure that there is no undue political interference,” the report stated.