Prime Minister Andrew Holness has issued a public statement in response to the Stocks and Securities Limited’s (SSL) allegations of massive fraud. PM Holness stated in his speech that he was given a general briefing about the scandalous allegations that have been made against the company by the Minister of Finance, Nigel Clarke, and the other relevant authorities investigating the matter. The PM indicated the briefing was of grave importance so he could properly be informed about the situation and would not make any false declarations on the matter publicly.
Holness expressed that, like most Jamaicans, he is extremely disgusted with what he has been seeing on social media and in news outlets about what is going on in the ongoing investigation. He also conveyed his concern and sympathy with the people who invested their hard-earned money into the non-bank financial organisation and are not certain what the future holds for their investments. Holness said that while he acknowledges that all the people who have been affected are important, he shares a heightened sense of betrayal that a national icon who has brought pride and honour to his nation was also among those who were fleeced of their investments.
In his address, the head of state spoke with confidence, saying that all the government entities that are required to have the matter resolved and see that justice is served have been mobilized and are aware of how urgent the matter is. He communicated that having read the report, he was satisfied that the entities understood the need to be lucid with their investigation and that they were moving as thoroughly as possible to ease the suffering of the victims.
He went on to say that the investigators were working hard to find the perpetrator(s) of the incident as well as anyone else who may have helped them commit the heinous crime. He detailed that based on what he saw in the report, he was happy that the relevant authorities were all working cohesively to get to the bottom of the investigation and to track the funds that have been taken from the victims or assets that may have been purchased by it.
The minister tried to put the minds of the public and the affected investors at ease by stating that the investigating bodies and prosecutorial agencies that are on the case are extremely capable. He also expressed that the investigative and prosecutorial agencies are equipped with all the resources they need and have already begun to make meaningful strides in gathering information and evidence. He also conveyed that no one and nothing will be spared in uncovering the full extent of the damage that has been done to the victims involved and in bringing the culprits to justice.
Minister Holness reassured the Jamaican citizens that there was no need to doubt the strength and stability of Jamaica’s financial system, based on the results they have seen in the tremendous reforms implemented over the past two decades, which the public can put their faith in. He made note that, in the region, Jamaica has the edge of being the leading financial market, which is a source of immense competitiveness that the country can use to its advantage.
He also explained that Jamaicans, both locally and abroad, should have no fear that the government will be driven in its efforts to ensure increased accountability and integrity in carrying out public functions, as well as ensuring that the implemented rules that govern the financial sector are always effectively strengthening the sector while protecting the people’s investment. He reiterated the fact that he understands the hurt that the public is feeling regarding the matter, but he encouraged the public not to fuel widespread panic through baseless assumptions, given the potentially complex nature of the matter.
Holness, in his address, indicated that the finance minister would be giving updates on strategies that have been devised and some of which have already taken effect to curtail the issues. He also reminded the public that, because of some legal limitations, investigators and prosecutors will not always be able to address some public assertions immediately. With that being said, he took the opportunity to urge the public not to always rely on unconfirmed information released in the public domain.
Holness stated that they are aware of persons who may have unscrupulous agendas to create instability in the country’s financial market to benefit themselves, and for that reason, he has yearned for the involved agencies to be completely transparent in their investigations. This is the only way to keep the public confidence in the system.
Finally, PM Holness stated that the government will ensure that legislation and systems work for the general public’s benefit and that justice is served for those who have been harmed.