Education ministry says it cannot release findings of Garvey Maceo audit
Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
The Education ministry has denied The Sunday Gleaner access to the findings of an audit report it ordered into the operations at the Garvey Maceo High School in Clarendon.
According to the ministry, the report is now before the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) and cannot be released to the media.
The Sunday Gleaner on August 13 used the Access to Information Act to request the audit findings, following a report that more than $40 million had been spent and a building which was to be constructed to ease the chronic shortage of space at the school not done.
But in a formal response yesterday, the ministry said it could not provide copies of the report to the media as officials involved must be given an opportunity to respond to the findings, and many had not yet done so.
"The audit report was prepared for the presentation to the permanent secretary, regional director, chairman of the school board, principal and the post-audit compliance officer, and will not be available for release until a response to this report is made by all parties named … ," said the ministry in its response.
"Matters arising from and connected to the findings in the report are subject to investigations by the Office of the Contractor General.
"The release of the report prior to the conclusion of the said investigation may adversely affect the conduct and outcome of those investigations. Therefore, the premature release of the audit report would be contrary to the public interest as being likely to prejudice the said investigations of the Office of the Contractor General," added the ministry.
In a separate response, the ministry said two classrooms have been completed, furnished and are now occupied at the new block.
According to the ministry, the new block was never intended or designed to be three storeys, despite claims from the initial contractor that he had been contracted to build a ground floor, a first floor, and a second floor.
The ministry said the entire block of classrooms is to be completed after the mid-term break.
However, when The Sunday Gleaner team visited the school earlier this year, steelwork extended above the two-storey building, suggesting that another floor was to be added.