Clumsy and highly irresponsible!
That’s how Opposition Spokesman on Industry, Investment & Commerce, Karl Samuda, is describing the decision of the Cabinet to approve the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Krauck systems.
The Industry Minister had announced in March that he received the go ahead to sign the MOU to facilitate five billion US dollars worth of investments in the logistics hub.
But it’s emerging that the approval was given in the absence of due diligence reports on the companies involved.
Mr Samuda says that’s bad governance.
The country first got wind of the proposed deal with Krauck Systems during the Jamaica Investment Forum in Montego Bay, St James earlier this year.
The Industry Minister, Anthony Hylton, announced on March 11 that he had the backing of the Cabinet to enter an MOU with Krauck.
And the Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller also reacted to the arrangement with Krauck.
For her it was full speed ahead.
The signing of the MOU was set for Monday. But in the face of growing concerns about the ability of the companies involved to deliver, it was put off.
Instead the Industry Minister went back to Cabinet and then issued a statement, insisting that he’ll sign the MOU with Krauck Systems and Anchor Finance Group — the financier for the project.
But the Minister’s language has changed.
He now refers to the document as a “non-binding MOU” which his Ministry says would be signed following meetings with Finance Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips and Transport Minister, Dr. Omar Davies.
The dates for the meetings and the signing remain unknown.
But the Industry Ministry says the non-binding MOU will allow for a 30 day period of due diligence during which detailed questions can be asked and answered in an environment of mutual respect, confidentiality and good faith.
The Opposition Spokesman Karl Samuda is questioning how Cabinet could have given its blessing for the signing of the MOU in the first place.
Mr Samuda says the entire process has been clumsy and goes against the principles of good management.
When we tried contacting the Information Minister, Senator Sandrea Falconer, today for a comment, her phone went unanswered.