The Patriots said the CMU President Pinnock must be held accountable for failing to protect the integrity of the institution from being linked in a corruption scheme, structured in such a way as to disguise the misuse of taxpayers’ funds to avoid scrutiny and oversight.
The PNP affiliate said the CMU President must tell the nation what he knows about the contracting of the services of former Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP), Member of Parliament for North West St Ann, Mr Othneil Lawrence to the institution as a consultant, and whether this engagement in April 2018 was related to Mr Reid’s announced candidacy for said electoral seat.
The Patriots questioned whether it is mere coincidence that Mr Lawrence’s reported vehemence to challenge for the North West St Ann seat, which later subsided in favour of Mr Ruel Reid, is related to his J$5.5 million annual consultancy at the Maritime University.
We have also taken note that in June 2018, a mere two months after Lawrence’s contract was signed, the JLP Central Executive confirmed Mr Ruel Reid as the JLP caretaker/candidate for the constituency and on Sunday, August 19, 2018 Prime Minister Holness announced Mr Reid’s candidature.
Considering recent developments, Mr Pinnock is now compelled to tell the nation what he knows about Mr Lawrence’s contract, when was he hired, what was the convincing circumstances which precipitated his engagement with the maritime institution; and further to disclose the substantial remit for which Mr Lawrence is being paid, the Patriots asked.
The PNP young professional group has also asked President Pinnock to clarify a narrative in the public space that the wife and other family member(s) of the former Minister of Education are or were also employed to the institution and if so, what services they have provided for the salaries paid. What are the competencies and areas of responsibilities of these hires, and whether the positions were advertised; when and where?
The Patriots said the summary dismissal of Minister 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 what has already filtered in the public domain, and have brought the institution into disrepute.
It is for these reasons that the organization is calling for the resignation of President Fitz Pinnock to begin the cleansing and repositioning of the institution so it can properly serve the interests of the Jamaican people.
Further, these allegations of corruption and the possible misuse of funds from the HEART TRUST NTA to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information for the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) and the TVET Rationalisation Programme require a thorough investigation by the relevant investigative authorities.
Therefore, the PNP affiliate further calls on the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as well as the Integrity Commission to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the operations of the HEART TRUST NTA and its associated programmes and the National Education Trust (NET) to determine any theft or misuse of public funds.
The Patriots have maintained that those complicit in acts of corruption should be brought to book.
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