In a new development in the Petrojam saga, members of the McCook’s Pen Citizens’ Association in Energy Minister, Andrew Wheatley’s South Central St Catherine constituency, are denying that they wrote a letter to the State-owned oil refinery rejecting a multi-million dollar donation to fund a community project.
They are alleging that McCook’s Pen was fraudulently denied $9-million in funding from Petrojam.
Donations of millions of dollars by Petrojam to finance several projects is one of several issues in the developing scandal gripping the state-owned oil refinery.
The Opposition PNP has charged favouritism in how Petrojam donates millions to support several projects in the Minister’s constituency.
Checks by Nationwide News reveal that Petrojam shifted $9-million in financing from a project earmarked for McCooks Pen to another community in the constituency, Sydenham.
The shift was done on the basis of a letter written by a member of the McCook’s Pen Citizens Association to Petrojam. But the leadership and some residents of McCook’s Pen are flatly denying that they wrote Petrojam any such letter.
The letter from the McCooks Pen Citizens Association is dated July 5, 2017. It’s signed by a Charmaine White.
The letter says the Citizens’ Association was no longer interested in the sponsorship solicited for constructing a classroom and computer lab at the McCooks Pen Community Centre.
It says the association solicited funding from elsewhere. That was outrightly denied by some members of the association’s executive.
The woman whose signature was purportedly affixed to the letter, Charmaine White, flatly denies having anything to do with the letter.
The letter was used by the General Manager of Petrojam, Floyd Grindley, to justify the shift of more than 9-million dollars to another project in a nearby community, Sydenham Villas.
We found Miss White in McCooks Pen last Wednesday.
Charmaine White, the St Catherine woman who claims her signature was forged on a letter sent to Petrojam, turning down funds for a community project in July last year.
We went to McCooks Pen last Wednesday in search of members of the leadership of the McCooks Pen Citizens Association.
We wanted to verify whether some of the donations to fund projects in Dr. Wheatley’s constituency were actually so used according to documents we obtained from Petrojam.
According to the documents we obtained, the management of the oil refinery prepared a submission to the board of directors to approve the donations for the renovation of the Sydenham Community Centre.
The letter allegedly signed by Charmaine White was a part of the submission to the Board.
The residents of McCooks Pen were angry when we told them of the letter and asked if it’s true that they got funding from elsewhere?
Some of their reactions were laden with expletives as suspicions rose and tempers flared among the executive of the association on seeing the letter for the “first time”.
The President of the Citizens’ Association, Icyline Wright denied getting any money, writing any letter or even getting a direct response from the oil refinery since they made the request through the SDC.
She says to date there are 3,000 cement blocks in an empty lot waiting to be used in the construction of the needed community building.
Ms Wright says she suspects who may have been responsible for the forged letter. But she refused to say.