Culture Minister Olivia Grange defends the culture ministry and sought to dismiss claims by the South East St Ann Member of Parliament, Lisa Hanna.
Hanna who accused the minister of nepotism and corruption in the awarding of a contract for the Jamaica Emancipation and Heritage Week celebrations during her sectoral debate presentation on Tuesday.
Hanna was making her contribution to the 2017/18 sectoral debate told the House that a culture of extravagance has developed at the Ministry, led by Minister Grange.
She questioned why only $60-million of the $440-million set aside for upcoming Jamaica 55 celebrations has been allocated to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, JCDC.
She accused the JCDC of hiring a consultant to assist with the Jamaica 55 celebrations at a cost of $15-million.
“Where has the rest of the $440 million gone?..Hanna asked
However; Grange in hitting back stated that $440 million was allocated to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sports for Emancipation and Heritage Week in 2017-18.
“She (Hanna) said that of the $440 million, only $60 million was allocated to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) for promotion of cultural activities, and then asked, suggesting that some corruption had taken place, ‘Where has the rest of the money gone?'” Grange said.
Grange then referred to the estimates of expenditure (big yellow book). She further stated that by looking in the book one can see that what Hanna is purporting is a big fat lie”
Grange, meanwhile, noted that the expenditure on the 2016 Grand Gala was $62.5 million, not $65 million as Hanna had indicated.
And she vehemently rejected Hanna’s suggestions that the JCDC is being bypassed by the Jamaica 55 secretariat, and in favour of personal consultants.
“Big, fat lie; false news like plastic rice,” Grange said as she sought to clear the air about the allegations.
Grange went further to say that there were legitimate channels, including the Access to Information and whistle-blower law, which allowed individuals to ask for and receive information.
“Instead, the MP has relied on leaked information, innuendos, and misinformation to arrive at faulty conclusions,” Grange said.
Hanna went further to sate that “I am going to give to the prime minister the records of what I produced yesterday (April 4).
So who is telling the truth, the war of words between these two lady seem to be getting out of hand.