Above: Works Minister Dr Omar Davies at a press briefing yesterday (JIS Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Jamaican government will soon begin a forensic audit of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme, a project whose alleged mismanagement led to the resignation of former Works Minister Mike Henry at the end of November.
The programme, which is funded by a loan facility from China, was the subject of recent talks between Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica Zheng Qingdian.
“One of my first questions on entering the Ministry was to ask for a progress report on the forensic audit,” said Works Minister Dr Omar Davies. “The reality is that nothing had happened, so the Permanent Secretary has begun the process.”
Davies said he expected the audit to address all issues with the programme.
“I am not doing the audit myself, and we welcome the notion to have a forensic audit,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Andrew Holness had announced in December that a forensic audit would be undertaken on the project, following a report from the Auditor General.
The JDIP provides $400 million from China’s EXIM Bank for improvements to roads and other physical infrastructure in Jamaica.
Davies said the recent meeting with Zheng was a good one, but that the government had not signed off on its planned modifications to the JDIP, and that he was awaiting several more reports.
“It is imperative that in all of our activities there is transparency,” he said. “I have said this not because it is an explicit policy of the new administration, but also all in Jamaica have realized that members of the public are no longer willing to be told that this is a higher-level problem which can’t be explained to you.”