09/05/13 - Jamaica Observer - Cuban light bulb project not my responsibility, says former PS
KINGSTON, Jamaica - Dr Jean Dixon, former permanent secretary in the then
Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce on Wednesday
repeatedly defended herself against suggestions that she did nothing to
ensure that the Cuban light bulb project was regularised.
Dr Dixon, who was testifying for the second day in a row at the corruption
trial of former junior minister Kern Spencer in the Corporate Area Resident
Magistrate's Court, gave testimony that the project document - a key
document that is needed to ensure that the project is regularised and is
properly managed - was never officially done and that she had raised
concerns that Government's procurement protocols were not being observed in
According to Dixon, who is now permanent secretary in the health ministry,
she had only seen a draft of the project document and as a result had
instructed one of her directors, Reginald Budhan, to develop the document.
When asked, under cross examination by Queens Counsel K D knight to explain
why she had not discussed the project with then Minister Phillip Paulwell,
and why she was not more assertive, Dixon said: "I discuss with the
minister things that are in my remit, and I had other legitimate business
approved by Government to deal with."
In relation to her not being more assertive, she testified that she had
exercised her assertiveness when she requested the project document and
later gave instructions for it to be developed.
However, an unrelenting Knight asked her "Would it be fair to say you
divorced yourself from the project".
"No," Dixon replied.
"Did you immerse yourself," Knight continued.
"No," she again replied, adding that it was not her project.
Dr Dixon also told Knight that she did not think that it was a matter for
her to bring to the minister's attention as she figured that he was already
aware of it since he had made several broadcast about it.
"When you learn of the project you took an hands-off approach?" Knight
"I don't understand what you mean," Dr Dixon retorted.
Knight, in explaining, said that she did not take the project under her
administrative wings, to which she again repeated that the project was not
"You really didn't care," Knight suggested to her.
"I care with exclamation!" she answered.
Knight then asked her about the project document and why she had not
assisted in bring it to a close, to which she again replied that the
project was not her responsibility.
Dr Dixon, however, testified that it was within her remit to instruct
Budhan to develop the project document. She said the Petroleum Corporation
of Jamaica was responsible for seeing that the project document was
Dr Dixon earlier testified that she did not establish a project
implementation unit for the Cuban light bulb programme, which is standard
procedure to ensure compliance with government's procurement guidelines.
She also testified that based on the manner in which the project was being
administered, Jamaica would not have earned any carbon credits.
The Cuban light bulb project, which started in 2006, involved islandwide
distribution of four million free compact fluorescent bulbs that were
donated by the Cuban Government.
Spencer and his former personal assistant, Colleen Wright, were later
charged for allegedly benefiting improperly from the implementation of the
project and are now being tried on corruption and money laundering charges.
Former head of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, Dr Ruth Potopsingh is
scheduled to take the stand today (Thursday, September 5).
Original Source / Fuente Original:
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