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Bertram now special advisor, consultant to water minister
Bertram to focus on housing, urban planning in new job
CASSANDRA BRENTON, Observer staff reporter
Tuesday, December 31, 2002



BERTRAM... took up job on Dec 2

ARNOLD Bertram, the former local minister who lost his North West St Ann seat to newcomer Verna Parchment in the October 16 general elections, is now special advisor and consultant to water and housing minister, Donald Buchanan. His appointment became effective on December 2.

Christopher Castriota, the ministry's director of community relations, told the Observer yesterday that Bertram will advise the minister on matters pertaining to urbanisation and community development.

"He will focus on the housing side of things and urban planning," Castriota said.

However, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) last night appeared set to mount a campaign to force the government to bring transparency to its selection of consultants and advisors.

Audley Shaw, the JLP's spokesperson on finance and public service, told the Observer last night that he will be tabling a question in parliament calling on the government to make public, certain details pertaining to all the consultants, advisors and ambassadors it has appointed.

"I want them to tell us about every consultant, every ambassador, every advisor..." Shaw said. "I want to know the level of compensation, the terms of reference, the job description, the performance levels... I want to know that the people of Jamaica are getting value for money," he added.

Reacting to Bertram's appointment, Shaw suggested that the government was merely creating posts for ministers of government who lost their jobs in the recent elections.

Bertram was one of three Cabinet ministers who lost their seats in the parliamentary elections. The others were Colin Campbell, then information minister, and Anthony Hylton, who held the mining and energy portfolio. Hylton was recently appointed trade ambassador in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Said Shaw yesterday: "I am extremely concerned about the government propensity to be appointing ex-members of parliament and ministers of government in various positions. They are literally creating jobs for them."

The Opposition spokesman said, however, that this issue was not a new one for the labour party.

"Some years ago I made a point of this in a debate in parliament... "I think it is quite vulgar. I think it is outrageous and they (the government) have to put a stop to it now," he added.

The preliminary count on the night of the October 16 elections showed Bertram winning the North-West St Ann seat by a slim margin of 26 over the JLP's Parchment. However, the official count gave Parchment a margin of 169 votes, which brought her tally to 7,507 compared to Bertram's 7,338 votes.

Parchment's grip on the seat was not affected even after subsequent findings that some ballots that had been cast by police and soldiers the day before the elections had been overlooked.