During today's sitting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), professor Pinnock admitted that the CMU was in fact involved in last April’s function held to honour former education minister Ruel Reid and that the university paid for some services.
Professor Pinnock however maintained that the party was not spearheaded by the university and informed that its contribution was merely to pay off a debt.
When Professor Pinnock appeared before the PAAC, two weeks ago, he denied that the CMU was involved in funding a birthday party for the former education minister. Rather, He told the committee that the event was an "industry function," to which he and students were invited to attend.
But on Wednesday, the CMU head came to the PAAC with documents explaining that the function was put on by group of Jamaica College past students called the "Friends of Ruel Reid," who were honouring Mr. Reid for being named Man of the Decade by the high school.
Professor Pinnock said the CMU's involvement with the event was based on a request for assistance from a logistics company in Florida which the university owed.
He explained that the CMU had owed a 'Mr. Peart' from the Florida company US$8,300 after it reached out to him for assistance during a period of limited cash flow.
The CMU had agreed to repay the money at a later date, "so it was the perfect opportunity to repay (J$)675,000 out of (US$)8,300 and call it a day," Professor Pinnock reasoned.
He said the CMU was asked to provide two services to help with the party.
"The CMU was asked to assist with the logistics because it was a function in our domain in the water space, so we were asked to book the vessel and pay for one of the invoice against a debt that we owe," he insisted, adding that "there was no funds from the CMU that was expended."
However, PAAC member Mikael Phillips said the transaction between the university and the Florida company should have been done in a more transparent manner as the current situation made for "messy accounting".
PAAC chairman Dr. Wykeham McNeill chided Professor Pinnock for not being more forthcoming about the party when he last appeared before the committee and lambasted Pinnock for giving the committee the mistaken impression that the CMU did not fund the function when he declared, "We do not fund birthday parties."
Dr. McNeil further pointed out that Professor Pinnock called the event an "industry function" despite it being a party put on by the "Friends of Ruel Reid" to honour the former minister.
The PAAC chairman argued that he should have made the CMU's role clear at that time.
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