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CMU: Hydel earned $2.2m under CAP-YES project

Published:Friday | July 12, 2019 | 12:23 AM

The St Catherine-based Hydel University, founded by Hyacinth Bennett, raked in approximately $2.2 million over a 14-month period when it was used as one of several venues for Caribbean Maritime University’s (CMU) controversial Career Advancement Programme-Youth Empowerment Solution (CAP-YES) project.

Bennett is also chairman of the council that governs CMU.

CMU yesterday confirmed Hydel’s involvement in the CAP-YES project, a day after one lawmaker publicly raised questions about its operation.

Mikael Phillips, opposition member of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament, had questioned whether “any aspect of the project was given to the Hydel Group of Schools to implement”.

“If the answer is ‘yes’, was the board notified of the chairman’s interest? What is the amount spent on the CAP-YES programme with the Hydel Group of Schools?” Phillips questioned.

Yesterday, CMU acknowledged, in a statement, that on December 1, 2016, the then Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) entered into an agreement with the Hydel University to be a “satellite site” under the CAP initiative.

CMI was later renamed CMU. It is unclear if Bennett was chairman of the then board of directors of CMI.

CMU also made it clear that Hydel only provided the venue and “venue-related services”.

“CMI staff conducted the sessions, hired and paid the teachers, and arranged the training materials.”

According to the university, Hydel terminated the agreement on January 31, 2018, citing concerns about the maintenance of its facilities and “other student-related matters”.

The east Kingston-based institution noted that since December 2015, its school of advanced skills has had a memorandum of understanding with Hydel University.

“The MOU allows for collaboration between both parties on a range of initiatives,” the CMU statement said.

The CMU said, under the December 2015 agreement, Hydel was paid $9,000 per student, “with a total of J$2.2 million paid out during the course of the arrangement for expenses related to the rental of the venue”.