Say something, Mr. Boatswain

In March, 2017, Minister of Works, Gregory Bowen, announced an investigation into alleged fraudulent activities in several government-run programmes.

Mr. Bowen spoke about ghost workers in the debushing programme, overbilling by truck operators and irregularities in the housing programme.

After Minister Bowen’s announcement, teams of officers from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), spent several weeks in St. Patrick West constituency, interviewing several people, including the then Personal Assistant to MP Anthony Boatswain, Kelvin Andall.

A young woman from Chantimelle who worked as an aide in the MP’s office, responsible for distributing housing materials, was a central target of the investigations.

A truck operator, also from Chantimelle, assisted the investigators with information about the transporting of housing materials from a hardware and lumber business in St. Andrew’s to several private residences in St. Patrick’s.

Additionally, a beach-cleaning programme in Mt. Rodney and Darvey was looked into by the investigators. Workers in that programme were allegedly paid in cash, which they received at the MP’s office.

It has recently surfaced that newly-hired cleaners and the security guard at the refurbished St. Patrick’s Anglican School are also being paid from the MP’s office in Sauteurs.

To date, the public has been kept in the dark regarding the outcome of these investigations. As a result, people have been left to speculate, leading to all sorts of rumours.

It is known that Mr. Boatswain’s former Personal Assistant, has been replaced by Elpheridge Phillip, who himself was Personal Assistant to former MP, Joseph Gilbert.

The young woman from Chantimelle has allegedly found employment at a Call Centre and the truck operator has recently been awarded a government contract for the maintenance of the Chantimelle playing field.

The father of the young woman was also given a government contract to fence the said playing field.

With all of this, no announcement of fraud or corruption charges against anyone has been made!

The people of St. Patrick West are now openly wondering if these investigations were simply a ploy to weaken Mr. Boatswain politically, thus making it easy to replace him, or whether it was a genuine attempt to get to the bottom of the scandals that Mr. Bowen spoke of.

The RGPF must not allow itself to be used as a tool in the NNP’s internal power struggles.

The misuse and abuse of taxpayers’ money must not be made into a political game by the government.

The people of St. Patrick West demand answers from our MP, our government, and the police regarding the status of these investigations.

We demand further that anyone found to be involved in these acts of corruption be brought to justice, regardless of their position.

Moreover, if they are innocent, the people targeted in the investigations need to have their names cleared. Further silence on this matter will be correctly seen as a cover-up.

Adam “Dikid” Lashley

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