Opposition demands resolution of CMU saga

The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP)  is demanding resolution of  the corruption and management issues at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) before the start of  the new school year.

The university has been embroiled in a corruption scandal which led to the sacking of  the former education minister, Ruel Reid, while the head of  the institution Professor Fritz Pinnock is on six weeks' leave.

Opposition spokesman on education Ronald Thwaites says the school must not be allowed to start the new academic year under a cloud of  uncertainty and corruption and has called on  Prime Minister Andrew Holness to speak definitively on the issues.

“The minister in charge who is the Prime Minister who himself has encouraged us all to improve and rescue the brand at CMU must come out now and state what will be the case regarding the tenure of the board, that appears to have been inactive. The status of the principal, and the clearing up of so many issues of waste and/or corruption that hang over the head of the institution. No one lease can do it, and it is vital and imperative to maintain the pedigree of the CMU.  

Questions have been raised regarding payment by the CMU for alleged contracts to two former household helpers and a driver assigned to Mr. Reid as well as a St. Ann Councillor.

There have also been questions about consultants engaged by the CMU, including former Jamaica Labour party member of  parliament Othneil Lawrence.

In addition, Professor Pinnock has admitted that some of  the payments for a boat party for Mr. Reid were made by the CMU.

Meanwhile, Thwaites wants an auditor general probe of  the CMU to be completed as a matter of  urgency.

“It is very important that the auditor general’s report be as thorough as necessary and come forward as urgently as is possible. The financing of CMU, the sources of its money, are all of great significance. After these many months, it is critical for the political directorate to speak it on the situation even if more time is needed to complete the investigations,” the former Education Minister said. 


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