Sat | Oct 19, 2019

Gov’t, Opposition hail arrests

Published:Thursday | October 10, 2019 | 12:21 AM

The Government and the Opposition People’s National Party have reacted to yesterday’s arrests of former Education Minister Ruel Reid and others.

Reid, his wife, Sharen, and daughter, Sharelle, were arrested by members of the Major Organised Crime Agency (MOCA) yesterday morning as part of a corruption probe into the Education Ministry and the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).

CMU President Professor Fritz Pinnock and Kim Brown Lawrence, councillor for the Brown’s Town division in St Ann, were also taken into custody.

The months-long probe involves the Major Organised Crime Agency (MOCA), the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and the Constabulary Financial Unit of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (CTOC).

Addressing a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday, Karl Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, said that the Government was unswervingly committed to the rule of law.

“The investigation that has been embarked on is one that we have absolutely nothing to do with nor did we at any time as a government, me as a minister, and no other minster, to my certain knowledge, in any way seek to influence either the manner of the investigation or the outcome of the investigation as, indeed, that would be a major breach of our commitment to the upholding and maintenance of the rule of law,” he said.

Samuda took the reins at the education ministry in March after Reid was asked by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to resign.

In the meantime, the People’s National Party has described the arrest as an important step in Jamaica’s efforts to clean up corruption.

In a statement yesterday, the PNP said the party was closely monitoring the situation and awaiting further announcements by the FID and MOCA before making further comment.

The PNP also reiterated that there were other investigative reports on Petrojam, National Energy Solutions Ltd and the CMU that were long overdue and that it was still awaiting conclusions and action on those investigations.