Wheatley Stripped of Energy Portfolio

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has relieved Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley of portfolio responsibility for Energy.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, OPM, late last evening, says OPM will be taking over the Energy portfolio, effective tomorrow, July 4.

The move follows calls from the Opposition and National Integrity Action, for the Prime Minister to sack the Energy Minister amid a scandal engulfing the State-owned oil refinery, Petrojam.

Allegations of nepotism, irregular and inappropriate expenditure has engulfed Petrojam over the past few weeks.

However, the embattled Minister Wheatley will continue to lead the Ministries of Science and Technology.

OPM says Minister Wheatley agreed with Prime Minister Holness that in the interest of transparency, the energy portfolio should be transferred.

Meanwhile, OPM says Cabinet also decided on a number of other related issues yesterday.

It decided that the residential status of all persons nominated to boards must be stated in the Cabinet Submission seeking approval for appointment.

Overseas travel of Board Chairmen or Board members must receive prior approval of the portfolio Minister.

The Ministry of Finance has been tasked to develop and finalize uniformed regulations for public bodies around donations and corporate social responsibility.

Among Cabinet’s other decisions, these regulations would see limits on the amount that can be approved at the agency level.

It will be a requirement that all donations be disclosed with details to include the amount, the receiving entity, the purpose of the donation and connected party consideration with the management, board of directors or the Minister.

A special enterprise team will also be assembled to conduct and oversee the organizational and strategic review of Petrojam.

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