On the OCG’s findings on that (troublesome) Azan matter

On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) released a 140-page report on its investigation on the construction of wooden shops at the Spalding Market.

A few things from the report:

  • Bryant’s construction won a bid to rehabilitate the Spalding Market. However, this rehabilitation did not include the construction of wooden shops (pg. 13).
  • The construction of the shops occurred without the knowledge and approval of the Clarendon Parish Council (pg. 14).
  • The OCG concludes, based on the testimonies of Mr. John Bryant, Councillor Trevor Gordon and the Hon. Richard Azan, himself, that “the Hon. Richard Azan, invited the Contractor to erect the shops or facilitated the erection of the shops without the consent and/or approval of the Clarendon Parish Council” (pg. 14).

The OCG directed our attention to Transparency International’s definition of political corruption, and added that:

A such careful consideration must then be given to the incidence of the perception of political corruption and the degree of political interference which forms the basis of the erection of the shops at the Spalding Market. Whilst the Jamaican legislative framework and regulations do not make reference to the issue of Political Corruption, its relevance and foreseeable implications to the governance framework in Jamaica can neither be discounted nor ignored.

I will not attempt to determine what the intent of Mr. Azan was in facilitating the arrangement of the unauthorized construction of wooden shops at the Spalding Market. Based on what we have seen in the report, it appears that there was “a manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources…” And it appears that there was an “abuse of power” (Transparency International, “FAQs on Corruption“). But the why…was it “to sustain power, status and wealth”? This, I cannot determine.

I will ask this, however: Why didn’t Azan simply facilitate the construction of wooden shops at the Spalding Market in line with current laws and regulations? And if the issue is time it would take due to the bureaucracy involved, why not address this in parliament and facilitate the passing of legislation which would better facilitate doing business in Jamaica? You know…in line with the PM’s spiel about “Jamaica: open for business” (or something to that effect)?

Something to ponder…

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