Elaine Foster Allen, Chairman of the PNP's Education Commission and Ronald Thwaites, Opposition Spokesman on Education
The Parliamentary Opposition is demanding that the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) provide details about birthday parties and celebratory activities for former Education Minister Ruel Reid.
Elaine Foster Allen, Chairman of the People's National Party's Education Commission, said she has been informed that the CMU paid for Mr. Reid's birthday party.
"Has the Caribbean Maritime University hosted any birthday or appreciation parties for the former minister, Ruel Reid, or any other senior official of the Ministry of Education between 2017 and now, and if so, what were the costs of these parties and who paid for them?" she enquired at a media briefing at the PNP headquarters in St. Andrew on Monday.
Opposition Senator Lambert Brown raised the matter in the Upper House on Friday, suggesting that the CMU played a key role in organising a party for the former minister on a yacht in the Kingston Harbour.
The CMU issued a statement on Sunday saying the issues raised are being investigated. However, it did not address any of the allegations.
Opposition Spokesman on Education Reverend Ronald Thwaites has said the allegations plaguing the CMU, the National Education Trust as well as the HEART Trust/NTA highlight the need for the National Council on Education (NCE) to be operational.
"I believe that as protectors of our democracy, the mass media ought to be mindful of that and to ensure that we have a vibrant, fully equipped National Council on Education which is not subsumed within the Ministry of Education, where the minister undoubtedly has the primary influence, but rather as an independent so it can do its job in the interest of the whole nation," he charged.
Mr. Thwaites was also speaking at the PNP's media briefing on Monday.