Not under this carpet
It is a fact that in their investigations the police discovered 19 rolls of carpet stashed away at the western regional offices of the National Solid Waste Management Authority at Montego Freeport.
Subsequently, NSWMA Executive Director Joan Gordon Webley, came out with an explanation that frankly, does not wash with us or with the public in general. Some questions therefore need to be answered.
To start with, let us focus on the carpet. Do the 19 rolls of royal blue water resistant carpet that the police seized at the NSWMA’s offices represent the total amount of carpet that had gone missing from the Convention Centre?
If not, who else benefitted from the gift of “inferior quality carpets” as that found at the NSWMA has been described? And has it been established that the carpet is of an “inferior quality” by an expert?
As for the 3,000 chairs, where are they? Have the investigating officers located them? If so where? And have they too been deemed to be of an “inferior quality?” Unconfirmed reports were that some of the chairs had found their way as far away as St. Thomas. Have these reports been verified by the police.
These are among the many questions in the public domain and they need to be answered by the relevant authorities.
We have yet to hear from the owners of the carpet and the chairs whether or not they in fact gave them away and to whom? Also, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) who was responsible for the items and who reported them missing, has not commented further.
Other than a very vague report from the police that they had found a quantity of carpet at an office in Montego Bay, the only other public statement has come from the Convention Centre assuring that the carpet and chairs were not the property of the Centre and its services were not affected by their disappearance.
The probe into their disappearance was ordered by no less a person than the Prime Minister. Is he satisfied with explanations given? This, of course, would have to be backed up by verification from the property owners and those who had leased/rented them. In the absence of clear cut statements from these sources, the public and we are left to wonder if there is move afoot to let this one go away quietly. But it won’t go away. This is not solid waste to be discarded at the garbage dump by Retirement!
Until we hear from the Prime Minister, the Police, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and the owners of the carpet and chairs, we will continue to ask the questions publicly. We hold to the view that if Mrs. Joan Gordon Webley’s story is credible then it should be verified, but also, we are strongly of the view that if a crime has been committed, the perpetrators must be brought to book. This is not a fairytale in which carpets fly away and chairs go for a walk on their four legs!