J.C Hutchinson has been removed from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, one of the many steps taken by the Prime Minister as the Holland Estate controversy takes centre stage.
New directives have been issued by Prime Minister Andrew Holness as the Holland land controversy grabs the nation’s attention.
Minister J.C Hutchinson who is at the centre of the controversy has been reassigned to the Office of the Prime Minister, a move the opposition Peoples National Party, PNP, is criticizing.
The PNP says shifting around Ministers who are guilty of policy breaches and wrongdoing is unacceptable.
J.C. Hutchinson has now made a public apology after initially saying calls for his resignation were baseless and maintaining he did nothing wrong.
He now says:
“.. I was wrong. The course of action I chose cannot be defended. Though my goals were noble, the procedure I used was flawed..”
The Prime Minister has announced the following:
– The Holland Estate will be turned over to the Agricultural Investment Corporation.
– Steps should be taken to terminate any arrangements that allow for non-farm commercial operations on the lands.
– SCJ is to immediately cease all land transactions.
– The SCJ is to provide a list of all land transactions of the last decade.
– The operations of the Rural Agricultural Development Agency will also be reviewed.
However the 184 farmers who have been cultivating the land will be allowed to continue.
The Prime minister says the directives were made after a meeting with Agriculture Minister Dr. Audley Shaw, the Permanent Secretary, and J.C. Hutchinson.