March 2, 2007
PNP returns cash – Trafigura ‘donation’ saga comes to an end


JAMAICA – The Trafigura Beheer debacle has come to an end, exactly 142 days after Prime Minister and president of the People’s National Party (PNP), Portia Simpson Miller, pledged that the $31 million so-called donation from the Dutch oil trader to the party would be returned.

Since the Prime Minister’s instructions on October 8, 2006, the PNP has experienced several obstacles in its efforts to dispatch the funds, leading to increasing pressure on the Simpson Miller-led administration to fulfil its commitment.{{more}}

Donald Buchanan, general secretary of the PNP and Information Minister, told journalists yesterday at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, that the money was sent to Trafigura Monday.

“The money has been sent in full. I expect that the money will be delivered today (February 26) or tomorrow, but the money has been sent,” he stressed.

The Trafigura affair came to public attention in September last year when Opposition Leader Bruce Golding’s attempts to disclose the matter on the floor of Parliament was disallowed by Speaker Michael Peart.

He later stormed out of the House and called a press conference at the Opposition’s offices where he declared that the Government had betrayed public trust in its dealings with the Dutch oil trading company and as such, had no moral authority to govern.

Trafigura had a contractual arrangement with the government-owned Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, to trade Nigerian oil on behalf of the country.

The $31 million was lodged to a PNP account called CCOC Associates, which was linked to the party’s former general secretary and Information Minister Colin Campbell.

Campbell was the single casualty of the Trafigura controversy after he tendered his resignation in both capacities.