Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Devon Dick | Put a pause on Pinnock

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2019 | 12:08 AM

Last week, Dr Fritz Pinnock, head of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), made damning allegations against a fellow government agency at a parliamentary committee meeting. Pinnock accused a respected investigative government agency of ‘harassment’, and engaging in ‘unnecessary’ subpoena of documents, and perceived the actions as a ‘personal attack’. These statements have far-reaching consequences because they could tarnish the image of the organisation, causing it to be seen as incompetent, immoral and engaging in illegality. Pinnock made himself a victim and martyr.

A responsible leader, such as Pinnock, should have provided better particulars to support these allegations. His assertion of an unnecessary court order to provide documents might have had more validity had he submitted all documents prior to the granting of a court order to get those documents. Since Pinnock has not handed over all documents, then his claim is invalid. His statements seem to make him guilty of grave violations against a justice arm of the government. He is not yet the president of the USA, but he felt bold to cast aspersions on a government agency without providing a shred of evidence.

Pinnock’s testimony further suggests that he is a law unto himself. According to Pinnock, a former Jamaica Labour Party member of parliament was the sole person interviewed for an unadvertised position. This was not a three-month emergency contract, but a three-year contract to apparently design and NOT implement a programme for unattached youths. This non-competitive job was valued at $5.4 million per year. Is CMU Pinnock’s personal soup kitchen to allow one person only to apply and get the job? Sensible business practice would be to interview at least three persons, even when there is a preferred candidate. Pinnock’s performance in Parliament came across as arrogant, deceitful and with no remorse.

Furthermore, this one person who was interviewed for the job did not have the requisite academic qualifications for the job – he had no known track record in designing a programme for unattached youth. Additionally, he was getting a salary which is far higher than some principals of schools who deal with many unattached youth. For failure to follow proper government procedures and correct human resource practice, and maligning an investigative arm of government, Pinnock should step down.

Academic qualifications

Pinnock undermined his role as head of an academic institution by claiming that qualifications on a paper mean nothing, when his main role is to ensure students get proper paper qualifications, proving that these students are competent to function and meet operating standards within the maritime industry. That pronouncement should be withdrawn. Furthermore, would Pinnock say that his academic qualifications are useless and not indicative that he can handle the job?

Pinnock’s judgement in other areas leaves much to be desired. He was strident that naming a building for a minister after one year’s service will not change. In addition, the name on the building had the academic title of the minister on it, which appeared pompous. Then there was a ‘denaming’ which was unnecessarily demeaning after Pinnock told the parliamentary committee members that they were too obsessed with buildings being named after a person, when buildings are named after lower animals. Since Andrew Wheatley did not see the award, then he is owed an apology.

Furthermore, Pinnock was not fulsome with Parliament, claiming that the appreciation party for the former minister of education was an ‘industry event’. And the convoluted payment for the ‘industry event’ seems ‘unnecessary’ and too ‘personal’ for a university.

Time to put a pause on Pinnock.

On Fathers’ Day, Rev Luther Gibbs, CD, died. He was the founding father of the Boulevard Baptist Church, and former president, general secretary and treasurer of the Jamaica Baptist Union. With the death of Gibbs, a mighty oak has fallen.

Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of ‘The Cross and the Machete’, and ‘Rebellion to Riot’. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.