Editorial | Remembering Zacca’s Petrojam report

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Entornointeligente.com / Until last week, questions about the fortunes and policy direction of Petrojam had receded into the background. The Zacca report on the future of the Government’s oil refinery continued to wander in policy purgatory.

But now that the faux pas by the board of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) in the Lionel Myrie matter has reawakened memories of Petrojam, it is time for the Government to seriously talk about its plans for the oil refinery. The energy and technology minister, Daryl Vaz, fudged the question when he spoke on his portfolio in Parliament in May.

Petrojam is an ostensibly 38,000-barrels-per-day refinery (it actually produces far less than that), in which Jamaica sold Venezuela a 49 per cent interest but forcibly reacquired it two years ago, purportedly because Caracas could not finance its share of a planned modernisation of the plant. The Jamaica-Venezuela dispute, in part, framed the work of the committee that was led by businessman Christopher Zacca.

Mr Zacca’s analysis was done at a time when Petrojam was mired in scandal. A performance review by the auditor general discovered that Petrojam could not properly account for billions of Jamaican dollars worth of crude purchases; that nepotism and cronyism were rampant in its business practices; and that it regularly flouted its own rules on procurement and on how it made donations.

During the period of the audit, Lionel Myrie was a member of the board of the Petroleum Corporation (PCJ), the now wound-up government entity that was the parent of Petrojam. He was also an aide, self-declared, to the then energy minister, Andrew Wheatley.

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LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner

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