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Ruel Reid's former driver furious at 'fraudulent' use of his name in CMU contracts

Devon McQueen, the former driver of Ruel Reid, whose name has been linked to contracts at CMU; Jamaica College Chairman Michael Bernard
 
The former driver for sacked education minister Ruel Reid has spoken out, saying he is furious at what he calls the fraudulent use of his name to secure contracts with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).
 
Devon McQueen's name became associated with the current scandal engulfing the CMU and Mr. Reid, after questions were asked at a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, about whether Mr. McQueen was contracted to provide catering services for a programme run by the University.
 
Mr. McQueen was on RJR's Hotline Friday morning, where he said he knows nothing about the catering contract with the CMU.
 
Mr. McQueen told Hotline host Emily Shields that he met the former education minister at the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA).
 
Mr. McQueen was working as a driver when Mr. Reid became the president of the association.
 
He said Mr. Reid later invited him to work at Jamaica College as a night watchman when he became principal of the school.
 
When Mr. Reid was appointed education minister, Mr. McQueen was seconded to the ministry to work as his driver, from 2016 to 2018.
 
However, Mr. McQueen said he had no association with the CMU. 
 
More definitively, he said he was never a caterer, noting: "I don't know nothing about that." 
 
Mr. McQueen said the first time he heard about the contract with the CMU was when investigators showed up at his home asking him questions earlier this year.
 
He said they took him to their offices and asked a barrage of questions in relation to invoices reportedly done in his name. 
 
"The thing about it, somebody was using my name," he concluded, adding that he was shocked when he found out about the contracts. 
 
He did not disclose the sums claimed on the invoices, however, he said it was not a lot of money.
 
Poor work conditions
 
Mr. McQueen said he opted not to continue as Mr. Reid's driver because of the poor conditions under which he worked, which left him depressed.
 
Among the issues was the long working hours. 
 
"I was underpaid even at that time and I told him that I would have never sign back anymore contract.... Sometimes you work most of the time seven days a week, you wouldn't get any time; not even leave I didn't get," he told Emily Shields. 
 
Mr. McQueen also said no provision was made for meals when he took Mr. Reid on long assignments. 
 
He said his relationship with Mr. Reid deteriorated over the two years he worked at the ministry. 
 
He said he returned to his post at Jamaica College when he stopped driving for Mr. Reid.
 
Mr. McQueen is the latest of Mr. Reid's associates who are alleged to have received payments from the CMU in the scandal which led to the firing of the former education minister.
 
The others include two household helpers.
 
JC probe? 
 
Jamaica College Chairman Michael Bernard, who was also a guest on Hotline, was asked whether the school will conduct a probe into employees at the institution whose names have been called in the corruption scandal. 
 
"At this point in time, until we can identify a link with the Jamaica College, we wouldn't really have any interest. But if there is a link, for example, whilst they were working for us they were providing services - and even then if the services were being provided in a private capacity - we really wouldn't have any interest in them," he said.  
 
The Board of Jamaica College is considering a request by the school's Old Boys' Association to terminate Ruel Reid's contract as head of the institution. 
 
Mr. Bernard said the Board received the request from the Association three months ago. 
 
The school is receiving legal advice on how to proceed. 
 
Mr. Reid is on eight months' vacation leave from Jamaica College following the end of his two-year secondment to the education ministry. 
 
His leave ends in November.
 


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