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Controversial $9 Million Petrojam Donation to Sydenham; Association’s Executives Not on the Same Page

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There is still no clarity on the $9 million donation that Petrojam made to the Sydenham Citizens’ Association. Interestingly, an investigative report by a media house has revealed that almost the entire amount was withdrawn from the account of the Association. Even more curious is the report that several members of the Executive Committee of the Sydenham Citizens’ Association, including the person who is said to have signed the cheques to withdraw the money, claim ignorance! Inquiries by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), does not appear to have revealed a great deal about the case.

Two Facets of the $9 Million Changing Hands

The Jamaican public may want to look at this entire episode in two parts. The first is what prompted Petrojam, the state-owned petroleum products company to make such a hefty donation of $9 million to the Sydenham Citizens’ Association. The other will be how genuine are the affairs in this association now that the senior members of the body’s executive are saying they had nothing to do with the donation.

The President of the Association, however, sticks to his claims that everything is above board. To the outsider it all looks mysterious, to put it mildly. The case is already 2 years old and not much can be done at this stage to reverse the happenings. What can be done, however, is to reveal the full facts and make sure such incidents do not happen again. If any individuals are found guilty of any wrongdoing, they should be punished under the law.

Contradictions Galore

The mystery only deepens, when one hears the way those within the Sydenham Citizens’ Association reacted to the developments. To take a closer look at the personalities involved, Michael Uylett was the President of the Association in 2017. He possibly continues to be so, though he is currently said to be living abroad. There is one Vice-president, Errol Williamson, who says he and other members of the Association did not know a thing about this Petrojam largesse and more importantly how the Association spent the money and for what purpose.

The President says the cheques to withdraw the cash from the Association’s bank account after Petrojam deposited the donation into it were signed by him and Keith Codner. Now, Codner, on his part says he is completely unaware of the cheques and that perhaps his signatures were forged. He says he has launched an investigation of his own.

Clarity eludes the whole issue and one may have to wait a while longer to know the truth.


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