Patriots President Omar Newell
The Patriots, the young professional arm of the People's National Party (PNP) has called for the resignation of President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Dr. Fritz Pinnock in the wake of the corruption scandal which has led to the sacking of Ruel Reid as Education Minister.
It is alleged that politically connected persons have been collecting hefty salaries at the CMU without doing any work.
The Patriots say the CMU president must be held accountable for failing to protect the institution from being linked to a corruption scheme.
Patriots President Omar Newell said Dr. Pinnock must tell the nation what he knows about the contracting of former JLP Member of Parliament for St. Ann North Western Othneil Lawrence to the institution as a consultant.
"We want to know what are the special skills that Mr. Lawrence brings? What's the nature of the consultancy? When did he become a consultant?" Mr. Newell demanded.
The PNP young professional group also wants Dr. Pinnock to clarify whether reports about other persons connected to Mr. Reid being employed to CMU are true.
It said if these reports are true, the CMU President must say what services they have provided for the salaries paid.
The Patriots say they are convinced the summary dismissal of Mr. Reid by the Prime Minister following the allegations suggest that the claims of cronyism, nepotism and corruption involving the Minister and the Caribbean Maritime University are greater than have filtered into the public domain.
The Patriots want a thorough investigation of the Ministry of Education, including the HEART Trust/NTA, the Career Advancement Programme and the National Education Trust.
It said these investigations should be carried out by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the Integrity Commission.
Mr. Newell said the Patriots do not support the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) undertaking a review of the ministry.
"Ruel Reid, if you recall, was Mr. Holness's advisor when he was formally Minister of Education. He provided some support to the task force on education when Mr. Holness was Opposition Leader. The first opportunity Mr. Holness had to name a Cabinet, Ruel Reid was his Minister of Education. The Prime Minister said in his statement that he wants to separate Ruel Reid from the ministry because he didn't want any allegations of interference or opportunity for interference. We want the same where the Prime Minister is concerned with the ministry. We would prefer an arm's length investigation, not one carried out by the Office of the Prime Minister," he contended, noting that a cloud would hang over any investigation carried out by the Prime Minister's office.