Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Pinnock denies claim CMU paid for Ruel Reid's birthday party

Published:Wednesday | May 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM
In this contributed April 2017 photo, president of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Dr Fritz Pinnock pays tribute to then Education Minister Ruel Reid during a party on a yacht in Kingston. In the background is a CMU student..

Livern Barrett, Senior Parliamentary Reporter

President of Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Dr Fritz Pinnock has denied claims that the institution hosted a birthday party for discarded Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid.

Further, Pinnock dismissed allegations that CMU paid for a 50th birthday party for Reid at a hotel on the north coast.

"I will state categorically that CMU did not host any birthday party," Pinnock declared as he was grilled by opposition members of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament during a meeting today.

"CMU did not pay for birthday parties," he insisted.

In March, the parliamentary Opposition publicly raised questions about whether the east Kingston-based institution hosted a birthday party for Reid aboard a yacht.

The Gleaner also published pictures from the April 2017 party aboard the Caribbean Queen, with Dr Pinnock and CMU students in attendance.

"What you saw was an industry function, which included members of the tertiary sector that were there," said Pinnock responding to questions from opposition member of the PAAC Fitz Jackson.

IN PHOTO: All aboard... Patrons about to set sailing for Ruel Reid's party in April 2017.

Pinnock also said as president of the CMU, he was never assigned an advisor, but confirmed that former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament Othneil Lawrence was hired as an advisor to the institution.

He confirmed a report by The Gleaner that Lawrence was hired on April 1, 2018 at an annual salary of just over $5 million.

IN PHOTO: Patrons mingle on the deck of the yacht at dusk for the party for then Education Minister Ruel Reid in 2017.

Two months after Lawrence signed the contract, the JLP announced that Reid would replace him as constituency caretaker in St Ann North West.

In June last year, Reid was confirmed as Lawrence's replacement as the St Ann North West caretaker.

Lawrence told The Gleaner at the time that he gave up the constituency because he felt it was time to step away from representational politics.

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