OCG Expands Prickly Pole Probe

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Nationwide News understands that the Office of the Contractor General, OCG, has expanded its investigation into activities at Lisa Hanna’s South East St. Ann constituency office.

The probe, which began earlier this year, now includes an investigation into the controversy surrounding Government funds which school officials say were intended to be used for upgrading work at the Prickly Pole Primary and Infant School in the Bensonton Division in the constituency.

The former Chairman of the School Board, Vinnette Robb-Oddman had claimed that in 2013, Miss Hanna’s office had supplied documents which indicated that $3-million of Government funds were used to pave the school grounds.

This in order to address chronic dust conditions, which reportedly contributed to the ill health of students and staff.

But according to Mrs. Robb-Oddman, no work was done at the school.

Speaking with our news center yesterday, Mrs. Robb Oddman said the funds to repair the school were supplied by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, TEF, and the Tourism Product Development Company, TPDCO.

Our sources say the Dirk Harrison led OCG, has now turned its attention to concerns raised about the funds earmarked for repairs at the school.

It’s understood that several witnesses are to appear before the OCG in the coming days in relation to the Prickly Pole controversy.

In January, a group calling itself ‘Comrades for principle and integrity’ issued a statement to the media, demanding disclosure about the money to be used to do upgrading work at Prickly Pole Primary.

The group complained that the issue was raised with MP Hanna at a constituency executive meeting on September 30 last year.

They claimed the discussion was not captured in the minutes of the meeting.

Miss Hanna appeared on Nationwide@5 on January 26 this year and was asked to respond to whether the issues regarding the Prickley Pole funds was discussed.

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Miss Hanna also declared that she has nothing to hide.

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Meanwhile Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has fired the Chairman of the Board of Prickly Pole Primary and Infant School, Vinette Robb-Oddman.

In a statement this afternoon, Minister Thwaites said Mrs. Robb-Oddman has been sacked with immediate effect.

Minister Thwaites says he advised Mrs. Robb-Oddman today that she was indeed part of a group which disrupted classes at the school last Friday.

The Education Minister said he’s also satisfied that Mrs. Robb-Oddman participated in a demonstration last Friday.

The demonstration was organized by school officials and some constituents, against South East St. Ann MP, Lisa Hanna.

The demonstrators demanded an explanation from Miss Hanna about funds which they say had been set aside to pay for upgrading work at the school.

The demonstration was overshadowed by the death of 11 year old Akella Lewis, a student at Prickly Pole.

She reportedly died while participating in the protest, a claim vigorously denied by Mrs. Robb-Oddman.

Minister Thwaites told Mrs. Robb-Oddman that her actions were contrary to the high standards of superintendence required of a School Board Chairman.

The Minister says before making his decision, he consulted with the National Council on Education which had nominated her as Chairman.

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