Sun | Jan 24, 2021

News Briefs

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2021 | 12:22 AM

CMU under pressure to return payment for construction project

The scandal-scarred Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) is being pressed to pay back $19.8 million to the Ministry of Transport and Mining after it failed to construct containerised offices at the ministry’s 138H Maxfield Avenue offices in St Andrew.

The contract was entered into with the ministry prior to the CMU’s transition to a university.

More than three years after the work was scheduled to be completed, the CMU (then Caribbean Maritime Institute) has failed to carry out the work and has not reimbursed the money.

In her annual report, Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis reported that the ministry had not received value for money in relation to the payment of $19.8 million to the CMU as part of a $39.7-million contract.

The auditor general said that the project was scheduled to be completed within six months beginning March 20, 2017. The ministry paid the Caribbean Maritime Institute $19.8 million – 50 per cent of the total contract value – to commence works.

The ministry has been unable to recover the money despite its written request for a return of the funds in May 2019.

The ministry said it has since engaged the new CMU executives to resolve the matter.

COVID spotlight on St Ann, Manchester

There are worrying signs that COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in Manchester and St Ann.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that as at January 11, St Ann had 75 active cases while Manchester had 68.

He told his parliamentary colleagues yesterday that when the parishes were assessed by population, St Ann had a positivity rate of 35 per 100,000 while Manchester's was 43 per 100,000.

"This is the first and second highest rates in the island," Tufton said.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in Westmoreland has decreased to 51 active cases, according to Tufton.

The parish was a hotspot for COVID-19 late last year prompting the Government to introduce tighter curfew measures.

“The total occupancy at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital is now 56 per cent for isolation, a significant reduction from the above 80 per cent isolation occupancy reported in December,” he added.

Tufton said the ministry has recommended to Cabinet that the special restrictions for the parish should not be extended.

Man killed on food run

The West Kingston police are probing the death of a man who was killed while walking along Lincoln Avenue in Kingston 13 yesterday.

Dead is 37-year-old Kemar Cover of a Mervilla Road address.

Reports reaching The Gleaner are that Cover was shot at about 2 p.m. after he went to purchase food for a family member.

His girlfriend spoke to our news team and said Cover was just at home having completed doing some laundry.

“We deh home, a him day off so him do some washing. After that someone ask him to go buy food," she said. "Him not even eat any of the food. A dog eat it right where him dead.”

She said that he had barely stepped off the sidewalk when a car drove up and its occupants opened fire at Cover as other persons ran for cover.

Cover's mother and sister, who visited the scene, were too distraught to speak.

The West Kingston police said that when they arrived on location, Cover, who was shot multiple times in the head, was laying face down in a pool of blood.

More than 20 Jamaicans have been murdered in the first 12 days of 2021.