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PNP demands apology after Holness accuses MP of squatting on gov’t land

The People’s National Party (PNP) has rubbished allegations made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness at an Area Council One meeting on Sunday (July 19).

At the Area Council One meeting, Holness said that he was aware of a sitting Member of Parliament (MP) that was living on government land and had not been paying rent or utilities for the property

The PNP called Holness’ comments a “blot on the Office of Prime Minister and the Party” noting that the party expects a full apology on the matter.

According to the PNP, the comments made at the meeting show the extent to which Holness will go to cover the corrupt and dishonest behaviour of the ministers that serve in his party.

The PNP in a release on Monday (July 20) revealed that they believed the PM was referring to the MP for North Trelawny, Victor Wright.

Wright, the PNP said, was only PNP MP who currently occupying government-owned land.

According to the PNP, Wright was formerly the Operations Manager of the Frome Sugar Factory in July 2011, five years before he became a Member of Parliament, he applied for and was selected to enter into a lease arrangement with the SCJ Holdings for a parcel of land, known as Fontabelle Estate in the parish of Westmoreland.

“The original lease, which was for one year with an option to purchase, has expired. However, in September 2011, Mr Wright exercised his option to purchase, and arrangements are in place to conclude the transaction. The SCJ currently owes him money related to his former employment, and there is an agreement to apply those funds to the purchase. In addition, electricity was supplied by the factory owners, Pan Caribbean Sugar Company Limited, and all payments are up to date,” explained the party in the release.

The Party said it has examined all correspondence from SCJ Holdings Ltd, the Sugar Company of Jamaica and Pan Caribbean and is satisfied that the legal arrangements as outlined by Mr Wright are consistent with the documents. It further believes that all the documents were available to the Prime Minister from SCJ had he been interested in the truth, rather than attempting to manufacture a scandal to hide the misdeeds of his administration.

Wright has been very transparent in this arrangement. He has declared the matter to Parliament, and it was” examined by the Ethics Committee of the House of Representatives. Further, it is included in his annual filings with the Integrity Commission,” added the party in a release.

The PNP said that wherever corruption exists, they were prepared to make the law take its course.

“There will be no cover-up and no pointing of fingers to the other side to justify our action. Corruption is corruption, and we must steadfastly commit to removing it from our ranks,” added the party.

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