The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to appoint a Minister to head the Science, Energy and Technology portfolios now!
The call comes months after Prime Minister Holness brought the portfolios under the remit of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
The Prime Minister had initially stripped former Cabinet Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley of the energy portfolio as the embattled Minister was at the epicentre of the scandal that exploded at the State-owned oil refinery, Petrojam.
After Dr. Wheatley’s resignation from the Cabinet, the Science and Technology portfolios were also brought under the auspices of the OPM.
Now, the Opposition is saying the Prime Minister’s delay in appointing a Minister of Science Energy and Technology is stymieing national development.
Despite an impending ruling from the Court on the constitutionality of the sections of the law that gives rise to the National Identification System, NIDS, the government is signalling that the controversial National ID is to be implemented soon.
The long-awaited National Identification and Registration Act was passed in September. But the PNP says the accompanying Data Protection Bill, remains before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament, which has not met in weeks.
That Committee was chaired by the former Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley. PNP General Secretary, Julian Robinson, says that is one of the things that’s been stalled since Mr. Holness took charge of Dr. Wheatley’s former Ministry.
He says the Information and Technology Bill has also been lagging.
That is why Mr. Robinson says the PNP is demanding that Prime Minister appoints what he calls a ‘full time Minister’ to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy.
In the meantime, Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Phillip Paulwell, is calling for an update from the committee appointed to conduct a strategic review of Petrojam.
In July, Prime Minister Holness appointed Chris Zacca to head the committee tasked with strategically reviewing the state-owned oil refinery.
Mr. Paulwell says there’s been no update on the progress since then.
He’s also calling on Prime Minister Holness to convene a meeting of the Energy Council.