Shooting the messenger? Andrew Wheatley catches heat for JPS tweet

Former Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley. (Photo: JIS)

Disgraced former Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley today, June 15, resurfaced from the depths of internet obscurity to awaken the collective rage of social media users who had all but forgotten him.

The Member of Parliament for South Central St Catherine, in a tweet, claimed the country and its energy needs were being held hostage by the monopolised Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).

“The Jamaican people are hostages to JPS.  Guaranteed revenue and in-house inefficiencies. Who pays? Must be the people. #Jamaica #JPS #OUR,” Wheatley tweeted.

Surely enough, the message was not received well by scores of Jamaican Twitter users, who slammed the former minister for his alleged involvement in the damning Petrojam scandal.

Let’s just say that the backlash was swift and BRUTAL, BUZZ fam.

The scandal rocked Jamaica’s state-owned oil refinery in mid-2018 and is still being investigated.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis began her investigations into the operations of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and its affiliate, the state-owned oil refinery Petrojam, in May 2018 at the insistence of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP).

At the time, Petrojam denied any wrongdoing, claiming it had acted above reproach in the transactions in question.

Following an initial request for an emergency meeting with Dr Wheatley, three Jamaican directors on Petrojam’s board – Dr Perceval Bahado-Singh, Harold Malcolm and Richard Creary resigned a month later.

With mounting pressure for a forensic audit, and two additional Petrojam resignations, Wheatley was stripped of his ministerial portfolio in July, with the Office of the Prime Minister assuming leadership.

Dr Wheatley resigned as minister on Monday, July 30, 2018.

Dr Wheatley speaking at the Women in Energy Conference in Kingston in May 2016. (Photo: YouTube.com)

Another report from Auditor General Ellis, which was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, December 5, pointed to “explicit acts of nepotism” at both PCJ and Petrojam, as well as deficiencies in human-resource recruitment and management practices.

Some J$5.2 billion worth of oil is still unaccounted for.