Mon | Aug 21, 2017

FULL TEXT: UWI snub letter and apology note to Parliament

Published:Thursday | October 13, 2016 | 10:17 PM
Beckles ... The University Bursar, acting on behalf of the entire UWI system, is empowered to honour the request of the PAAC and will do so as soon as his presence is requested.

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has backtracked on its earlier position that it would not be appearing before Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC).

The University had or originally stated its position in a letter by University Registrar C. William Iton to the Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Maurice Smith.

That letter was presented to the parliamentary committee yesterday.

However, today, the UWI vice chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles wrote to the Parliament apologising, saying the institution is prepared to appear before the committee to account for its spending.

See full text of UWI snub letter below:

Dr. Maurice Smith
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Education, Youth and Information
2 National Heroes Circle, Kingston 4


Dear Permanent Secretary,

The University is in receipt of a letter dated August 12, 2016 addressed to you from the Committee Clerk, Ms Camesha Bailey, which purports to request the University to appear before the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee in accordance with order No. 73A of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives which empowers the Committee to monitor expenditure in Government bodies and to make recommendations for the improvement of public administration.

Please be advised that The UWI is a public autonomous regional educational institution which serves seventeen countries in the Caribbean. The University was established by Royal Charter in 1962.

The University therefore has to be distinguished from other agencies of your Ministry. Please find attached legal authority provided by the Attorney General's Chambers in January 2017 (see attachment).

The University recognises that as a contributing country you are entitled to know how your government's subventions are utilised, and in that regard would recommend that your representative on the University Finance & General Purposes Committee use that forum to request the necessary information.

Please accept my highest consideration.

Regards,

C. William Iton University Registrar
Cc:       Vice-Chancellor University Bursar Principal

See full text of UWI apology letter below:

Dr. Wykeham McNeill, MP
Chairman
Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee
House of Parliament
Gordon House
81 Duke Street
Kingston

Dear Dr. McNeill,

The University of the West Indies (UWI) apologises for the misunderstanding and its consequences that have developed in respect to the request for an engagement with the Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC).

The letter from the University Registrar sought to clarify the principle of accountability and facilitate the procedure rather than obstruct the importance of the engagement.

The UWI, as a regional institution, is keen and willing to appear before the PAAC in respect of Jamaican investments in all of our campuses, not just the Mona Campus.

It is well established procedure for the University Bursar to make such submissions to all governments on behalf of all campuses.

The Mona Campus accounts for only a part of the national expenditure, hence the need to assist the parliament to fully take on board the regional nature of its investment.

Governments have, from time to time, sought clarification of the principle of regional investment and national accountability, and the governance model of the UWI was created in order to embrace Ministers of National Governments in order to accommodate this circumstance.

There is therefore no attempt to challenge the authority of the Jamaican parliament which we celebrate and recognise as having made the largest single investment in the UWI these past 68 years.

We are grateful that the parliament has approved investments that have enabled the UWI to grow as a globally respected regional University.

The University Bursar, therefore, acting on behalf of the entire UWI system, is empowered to honour the request of the PAAC and will do so as soon as his presence is requested.

Yours sincerely, 


Hilary Beckles 
Vice-chancellor 


Cc: Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, CD Minister of Education, Youth and Information
Dr. Maurice Smith
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Education, Youth and Information