Ex-minister remains in jail

KINGSTON, Jamaica, February 29, 2008 – Two days after being granted JA$10 million (US$141,944) bail on charges stemming from the Cuban light bulb scandal, former junior energy minister, Kern Spencer remains behind bars.

The embattled MP who was charged with a total of seven counts of conspiracy to defraud, corruption and money laundering, was granted bail since Wednesday, but all the required paperwork were not filed before the close of business.

A similar situation occurred yesterday when the evaluation process on the property being used for bail was not complete. That property is being put up by executive member of the People’s National Party (PNP), Patrick Roberts who was the only party official to attend Mr Spencer’s bail hearing on Wednesday.

Party members have not publicly spoken direct about their colleague’s legal troubles. However PNP leader, Portia Simpson-Miller had indicated that on Wednesday the party would discuss the future of the Opposition North East St Elizabeth MP who two weeks ago took leave from parliament and from all positions within the PNP.

One of the ex-minister’s associates also been charged, former executive assistant, and supervisor at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, Coleen Wright also slept another night behind bars when the process of posting her JA$5 million (US$70,972)bail was not complete in time.

However, the other accused – Rodney Chin, managing director of Universal Management Company which distributed the bulbs in the Cuban light bulb project, left lock-up yesterday evening after posting his JA$10 million (US$141,944) bail bond.

All three have been ordered to submit their travel documents.

The project was supposed to have seen four million florescent light bulbs donated by the Cuban government distributed to consumers free of cost. But it has racked up a JA $276 million (US$3.9 million) bill.