Thwaites urges UWI to reconsider rejecting gov't's request
Opposition spokesman on Education Ronald Thwaites is urging officials of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona to reconsider their decision not to provide the government with an explanation on how it is spending public funds.
The UWI, Mona, the University of Technology and the University Council of Jamaica were invited to appear yesterday before the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament (PAAC).
Parliamentary rules give the PAAC the power to summon any entity which receives money from the national budget to explain how it uses those funds.
However, yesterday the UWI Mona did not appear before the PAAC and instead sent a letter which said the institution is a public autonomous regional body that is not answerable to the Jamaican government.
Jamaica contributes about 20 per cent to the annual Budget of the university.
This fiscal year, Jamaica is to contribute about $8.3 billion to the UWI, Mona.
Thwaites says the UWI should reconsider its decision given that it receives funds critical for the running of the university from the government.
Thwaites says the government is justified in its request to know how the UWI is spending tax dollars as it is one of the highest publicly-funded local institutions.
Yesterday Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Dr Maurice Smith supported a recommendation from the PAAC chairman Dr. Wykeham McNeil that a mechanism be found to bring the UWI, Mona before the parliamentary committee.
The PAAC will be writing to the Attorney General seeking its advice on the matter.