Thwaites buys 2011 Mitsubishi Pajero from Government for $1.2 million
Former education minister Ronnie Thwaites spent $1.2 million for a 2011 Mitsubishi Pajero which was assigned to him when he became minister in January 2012.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has directed that no government motor vehicle is to be sold to former ministers as part of a plan to reduce spending.
The ministry of education said the sale of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) to the Central Kingston Member of Parliament took place long before that directive from the Prime Minister.
“On April 28, 2015 Minister Thwaites wrote to the Ministry of Finance indicating his desire to purchase the vehicle. On May 7, 2015, Mrs Elaine Foster-Allen, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education communicated Mr Thwaites' interest to the Ministry of Finance and requested an inspection of the vehicle in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Policy, Section B. 1.12, Disposal of Assigned Vehicles,” the ministry said.
“On May 14, 2015 the office of the Financial Secretary wrote to Mrs Foster-Allen granting approval for the 2011 Mitsubishi Pajero be sold to Mr Thwaites for the sum of $1,208,000.00,” it added.
Thwaites purchased the vehicle by managers cheque dated September 11,2015.
Thwaites told The Gleaner that the vehicle was not one of the new ones purchased by the Portia Simpson Miller administration in 2012.
“I took over one of the ones that the JLP had and I insisted that no new vehicle be bought for me. When the vehicle became virtually unserviceable and had done its time, the ministry of finance wrote and I paid the tariff under the condition that I continue to use it until the end of my tenure which I did,” Thwaites explained.
The Education Ministry said that it purchased the motor vehicle on August 19, 2011, and assigned to then State Minister Gregory Mair. It was then transferred to Thwaites after the change of government in 2012.