KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 5, 2019 - In the wake of calls for full investigations into the operation of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), its president, Professor Fritz Pinnock has taken a leave of absence as controversy mounts at the institution.
A statement from the Caribbean Maritime University on Friday afternoon said Professor Pinnock opted to proceed on a leave of absence in light of the ongoing investigation of the former Minister of Education Youth and Information, Ruel Reid, the Ministry and the University.
It said Professor Pinnock stated in a letter to the University Council Chairman: "In the interest of all, I have elected to go on six weeks of voluntary leave, effective today, July 5, 2019."
"This will allow the various investigations in progress, time to conclude their findings and recommendations," the letter continued.
On Wednesday a parliamentarian described as a cesspool the state of affairs at the Caribbean Maritime University following the discovery of further connections between persons paid by the institution and former Education Minister Ruel Reid.
Those linked to Mr. Reid include two household helpers, a St. Ann councillor, a St. Ann company, and a CMU donor, who has now been revealed as Mr. Reid's business partner.
Members of parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) questioned the operations of a programme through which the CMU targets at-risk youth.
CMU partnered with a St. Ann-based company, Optimum, which delivered the programme, while the university provided curriculum support, nutrition and certification.
Dr. Grace McLean, Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, also stated that an almost $15 million payment by the CMU to a third party was contrary to the ministry's policies.
At the previous sitting of the PAAC, it was revealed that last year, a CMU consultant, Gail Campbell Dunwell, submitted invoices totalling US$114,722 for reimbursable expenses, but asked that some of the payments be made to a Doreen Miller.
- Countries: Jamaica