The government says it has had to take steps to return funds which were donated by opposition leader Mark Golding, in February towards the repatriation of Jamaican students who were in Ukraine.
According to a statement from the office of the prime minister, in his public announcement, on February 25, at the time of the donation of US$10,000, Mr. Golding noted that the funds were to be used for “transportation, food and other necessities” related to the repatriation of the students.
OPM explains that on the basis of the decision of the opposition leader to disburse the funds through the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade, the ministry acted on the guidance of the finance ministry in depositing the funds to its account as ‘appropriations-in-aid’ for the intended purpose, in keeping with the financial regulations of the public service.
The equivalent of US$15,000, was also donated by the prime minister and also deposited in the same account.
The OPM further notes that the urgency of timing required that the ministry of foreign affairs advance funds for the students’ repatriation and care.
It says the contributions by Mr. Golding and the prime minister covered only a portion of the aggregate cost for the successful execution of the repatriation exercise.
According to the OPM, in a recent letter, Mr. Golding indicated that the funds ought instead to be distributed to each student towards his/her education costs.
The OPM says notwithstanding Mr. Golding’s change of intention regarding the use of the funds, the communication accuses the government of improper usage of the donation.
It says accordingly, the government has decided that the funds be returned to the leader of the opposition at the earliest, to facilitate their use as best determined by him.