JIS News

KINGSTON — The FINSAC Commission of Enquiry is expected to recall former Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies, when it resumes sitting.

This was confirmed Thursday September 1 by the Secretary to the Commission and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, Fernando DePeralto, who indicated in an interview with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that the enquiry may not resume before month end.

Mr. DePeralto said that the enquiry was being held up by the inability of the Financial sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC) to produce records relating to statements which have been made at the enquiry, from as far back as 2009.

He confirmed that following the latest request from the Commission, FINSAC wrote the Commissioners Thursday September 1 stating that it could produce some of the information by September 16, and the rest by the end of the month. However, indications are that the Commissioners are not satisfied with that response, and were scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation and make a decision on how they will proceed.

He also confirmed that only two more witnesses are likely to be called. These are Dr. Davies, who originally appeared before the Commission in November, 2009, but is expected to respond to more recent questions pertaining to his administration’s role in issues surrounding the meltdown and the operations of FINSAC; and current Managing Director of the National Commercial Bank (NCB), Patrick Hylton, the then Managing Director of FINSAC, which was formed during Dr. Davies' tenure as minister to handle the bad debts from the meltdown.

The Commission, which is headquartered at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, last met three weeks ago. The delay in resuming has been blamed entirely on FINSAC’s inability to produce the records needed by the Commissioners.

FINSAC's General Manager, Errol Campbell, has stated repeatedly that the lack of a proper data maintenance system at the company, and its reliance on manual searches has caused the delay. He also confirmed that many of the documents are with the Jamaican Redevelopment Foundation (JRF), the American-owned firm which bought the bad debts in 2002.

The Commission of Enquiry, appointed in October, 2008, has been sitting since September, 2009. However, it did not sit for much of 2010 as a result of court action, which eventually led to the disqualification of the original chairman, Justice Boyd Carey. The Supreme Court upheld submissions from four claimants, including Dr. Davies, that there was perceived bias on the part of Justice Carey, whom they claimed was a FINSAC debtor.


By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor