Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Why the Government has delayed tabling the CMU report

Published:Wednesday | January 15, 2020 | 11:09 AM
Resigned Education Minister Ruel Reid (left) and president of the Caribbean Maritime University Professor Fritz Pinnock.

Damion Mitchell, Integration Editor

There is increasing anxiety over the decision of the government to delay the tabling of the Auditor General’s report into the scandal-hit Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).

But the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives Karl Samuda is not explaining the reason for the delay.

Yesterday, the auditor general, Pamela Monroe Ellis, told a parliamentary committee meeting that the report had been sent to Gordon House.

It is understood that the highly anticipated document was received by the Houses of Parliament after Christmas last year.

However, yesterday, it was not among more than 20 documents laid before the House.

The Auditor General is mandated to send her reports to the Parliament which must then table them as soon as possible.

During yesterday’s sitting, Leader of Opposition Business in the House Dr Morais Guy questioned the absence of the CMU report from the list of documents being tabled.

House Speaker Pearnel Charles said it would be tabled once he "receives" it.

Guy has since written to the House Speaker demanding that the CMU report be tabled at the next sitting.

"We are pressing it," Opposition Member Julian Robinson told The Gleaner this morning.

A short while ago, the issue was raised at the Post Cabinet press briefing.

Samuda, who also has portfolio responsibility for information, said it was the responsibility of the Speaker to determine the timetable for documents to be brought before the House.

"There are aspects of that exercise that have given him some pause," Samuda said.

However, he said, before the next sitting, Charles will advise Parliamentarians of his decision.

Pressed whether the delay was because of legal issues, Samuda declined to respond.

He also said he would not reveal the details of related discussions he had with Guy or the House Speaker.

The CMU president Professor Fritz Pinnock is among five people who were arrested and charged last year in a major corruption probe.

The matter is now before the court.

Resigned Education Minister Ruel Reid, his wife Sharen, their daughter Sharelle and the councillor for the Brown's Town Division, Kim Brown Lawrence were also arrested and charged with fraud offences.

We want to hear from you! Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169, email us at editors@gleanerjm.com or onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com