Opposition Spokesman on Education Ronald Thwaites raised the issue on Tuesday at a news conference at the People's National Party's headquarters, while Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western, Mikael Phillips, who was also at the news conference, called for a forensic audit of CAP-YES.
Phillips said it appeared most of the funds diverted from the CMU went to the programme. "The failure or the non-success of this programme has been elaborated by the president himself that only 45 per cent of those who enrolled in the programme actually completed the programme and even some of those that completed the programme had complaints of not receiving their stipend or even receiving their certificate a year after completing the programme," he highlighted.
Mr. Thwaites argued that the report on the CAP-YES expenditure was necessary. "The issue to do with the HEART-Trust, and particularly its contributions to the CAP programme; those connected with Caribbean Maritime University, Hydel and other institutions... What we need to know is how that money has been spent?" he contended.
People’s National Party is also calling for an investigation to ascertain whether crucial documents at the Ministry of Education were destroyed in a bid to impede investigations at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).
The party is claiming that it has “credible information” concerning important documents possibly being destroyed in order to thwart investigators.
PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson who made that call for a probe at the media briefing, said it was important “to determine whether critical documents at the Ministry of Education were either shredded or burnt during the week of March 25th 2019, the week after Minister Ruel Reid would have been fired.”
He said the probe should also determine “whether the activities by officials in that ministry would constitute a criminal offence under the Corruption Prevention Act.”
The Opposition also wants to know how many people connected to former Education Minister Ruel Reid were being paid by the CMU. Phillips questioned whether persons who were managing Mr. Reid's campaign or carrying out work on his behalf in the St. Ann North Western constituency were also being paid by the institution, noting that "there are a lot more unanswered questions that needs (sic) to be sorted."
Two of Mr. Reid's helpers have already been linked to payments from the CMU.
The name of Mr. Reid's former driver has also come up in investigations, however, he has denied receiving any payment and has contended that his name was fraudulently used.
In the meantime, Mr. Thwaites brushed aside the assertion that it is unreasonable for the Opposition to expect the Government to take action to deal with allegations of corruption when investigations are still in progress.
"It is perfectly possible to deal with issues of nepotism, of embezzlement and fraud; to show what you have discovered and what steps you propose to take, quite independent of any criminal investigation. That is a smokescreen that is being put over this event, and the people of Jamaica and education generally, deserves better than that," he asserted.
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