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Editors' Forum | Ruel Reid probe very active, says Anderson

Published:Sunday | July 7, 2019 | 12:00 AMCorey Robinson - Staff Reporter
Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson
Asistant Police Commissioner Fitz Bailey
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Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson last week sought to reassure the public that the High Command has not been withholding information surrounding the investigations of former education minister Ruel Reid.

“There is no intention to stymie information, not at all. As a matter of fact, a lot of things are being done through the FID (Financial Investigations Division),” said Anderson, who was among a group of high-ranking Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) members at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum last Thursday at the media house’s North Street, Kingston office.

Anderson made the statement while noting that public confidence and trust in the police was imperative to the success of its anti-crime efforts.

Reid was forced to resign as education minister in March amid burning allegations of corruption at the education ministry and several agencies under its purview, including the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and the National Education Trust.

In May, in Anderson’s first press conference since taking up his tenure as commissioner, he revealed that Reid was under criminal investigations by sections of the constabulary.

In addition to the FID, Anderson said at the time that Reid was being investigated by the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (C-TOC) and the Constabulary Financial Unit.

Since then, however, sleuths have remained tight-lipped about their probe.

“The matter is still being investigated, and while an investigation is active we tend not to speak on it. For example, when we do anti-gang investigations, the only time we release information to the press is when the persons are to be charged,” offered head of C-TOC, Assistant Police Commissioner Fitz Bailey, when pressed further on the matter, noting that there has been no immediate challenges to sleuths in pursuing the case against Reid.

“An investigation is not about informing the public but to ensure that the best results are achieved and a professional investigation is done that can withstand any form of scrutiny.”

MORE DETAILS REVEALED

Even as the police continue to keep details of the investigation close to their chest, information about the case continued to swirl in the public domain.

Last week, Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) heard reports that another of two household helpers assigned to the former education minister was the recipient of contracts from the CMU, raising more questions about the operations of the institution.

The committee was told that Maureen Blake, while still being paid by the Ministry of Education, was reportedly contracted by the CMU to provide services along with councillor for the Brown’s Town division, Kim Brown Lawrence, and a St Ann company.

Already linked to the CMU was another of Reid’s helpers, Doreen Miller, who was alleged to have received millions after payments by the CMU made to consultant Gail Dunwell Campbell were diverted to her.

Late Friday evening, after repeated calls for him to step aside since the scandal broke, CMU president, Professor Fritz Pinnock, finally opted to step aside for six weeks to allow for a transparent investigation.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com