Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Bunting calls for Holness to appoint education minister

Published:Wednesday | October 9, 2019 | 3:00 PM
Opposition Spokesman on Education, Peter Bunting - File photo

Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer

Opposition Spokesman on Education Peter Bunting says today’s arrest of former education minister Ruel Reid should push Prime Minister Andrew Holness to act quickly to appoint a full minister.

Along with Professor Fritz Pinnock, President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Reid, his wife Sharen, and their daughter Sharelle​ were arrested this morning over allegations of fraud and the impropriety at the ministry and some of its agencies including the CMU.

Brown’s Town Division Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence was also taken into custody.

Bunting, speaking with The Gleaner, argued that the ministry is being affected by a lack of policy leadership since Reid was dismissed in March.

READ: Why Ruel Reid was asked to resign 

Holness had asked Reid to step down amid the investigations and later reassigned Karl Samuda, who was Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, to the education ministry.

“That there’s no real policy leadership in what is our largest and perhaps most important ministry is deeply regrettable.

“I am hoping now that the expectation is that after the arrests this morning that there will be charges. It will mark a definitive turn in this whole investigation and allow for some appointments of new leadership at the ministry and at the CMU,” Bunting said.

“Having a sort of night watchman minister there, overseeing day-to-day operations but without the authority of a portfolio minister serves no reasonable purpose and that should come to an end I hope quickly. It needs to come to an end quickly so that the ministry can return to some form of normality,” Bunting continued.

He said that he is saddened by the ongoing developments in which the education ministry has found itself embroiled.

“This is the ministry whose leaders are role models for our young men and women and it’s particularly regrettable that these persons, who thousands of not just children, but parents look to set an example, have so let us down,” noted Bunting.

“Obviously, they will have their day in court and I don’t want to take away the presumption of innocence, which our court system affords them, but I think enough has gone into the public domain that, regardless of the outcome of the trial, I think their judgment and their ability to lead has been called into question,” he said.

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