JC old boys not rushing to get Reid out

PRESIDENT of the local chapter of the Jamaica College (JC) alumni, Major Basil Jarrett says the old boys are allowing due process to take its course in the situation involving Principal Ruel Reid and his contractual arrangements with the institution.

Reports have surfaced that the old boys want Reid, who is on eight months’ leave as principal, to be sacked as head of the prestigious all-boys secondary school, as he is now under criminal investigations in relation to activities under his watch as education minister.

Reid resigned from the Andrew Holness Cabinet in March after the allegations surfaced. Prime Minister Holness said Reid was asked to resign after meeting with him regarding certain allegations in the public domain.

“In keeping with the principles of good governance, I requested and received Minister Reid’s resignation…the minister’s resignation will ensure that any investigation into matters of concern will not be in any way be impeded by his presence or oversight of the ministry,” Holness said in a brief statement. He also quit the Senate.

The JC board released the principal on secondment in March 2016 to serve as minister of education, information and youth for an initial period of two years.

Yesterday, Major Jarrett told the Observer that “the association is allowing due process to take place in order to shed light on the situation and to direct the way forward. We must respect the rule of law, and we must allow the investigations to determine our next set of actions by the school board”.

Meanwhile, as the saga enveloping one of the ministry’s agencies, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), ballooned, moves have been made to explain its connection with the Hyacinth Bennett-led Hydel Group of Schools, after questions were raised in Parliament Wednesday by Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western Mikael Phillips about the contract between the university and Government’s Career Advancement Programme (CAP).

In its explanation, the CMU stressed that Hydel is no longer a CAP site venue, and that the group has had a long-standing relationship with the university under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the parties which started in December 2015.

The CMU pointed out that this was prior to the appointment of Bennett as chair of the institution’s board of directors.“The MOU allows for collaboration between both parties on a range of initiatives. In line with this collaborative relationship, on December 1, 2016 the [then Caribbean Maritime Institute] CMI entered into an agreement with Hydel University to be a satellite site under the Career Advancement Programme.

Hydel was one of several CAP sites islandwide. Under the terms of the arrangement, Hydel would provide the facilities to house CAP students, as there was not enough classroom space at the CMI’s Palisadoes Road campus,” the CMU said.It said Hydel was paid $9,000 per student, which totalled $2.2 million paid out for rental of venue, during the life of the arrangement.

Furthermore, the CMU said, Hydel only provided the venue and venue-related services, while CMI provided staff for the sessions, hired and paid the teachers, and arranged the training material.

According to the university, on January 31, 2018 Hydel wrote to it terminating the arrangement, citing concerns about the maintenance of the facilities and other student-related matters.

The Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, the Financial Investigations Division of the Ministry of Finance, and the Integrity Commission are currently conducting probes at both the CMU and the Ministry of Education.