Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Letter of the Day | Reid’s resignation disappointing and demoralising

Published:Friday | April 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM


“Mommy, Education Minister Ruel Reid has been fired because of nepotism. It is when you hire family and friends without qualification.” (11-year-old boy, St Elizabeth)

“Reid was sacked as minister over allegations of corruption and misuse of public funds in the ministry.” (The Gleaner – March 21, 2019) 

"Mr Reid said he had no problem with the prime minister’s request for his resignation because he knows that he is guilty of nothing.” (JC old boy, The Gleaner – March 24, 2019)

"Help us to pursue those virtues that through ages will endure” (excerpt from Munro’s anthem)


The venerable are also vulnerable because no one is infallible, given that we are all prone to missteps and wrongdoings and never immune from accusations, especially public servants.

Regarding Ruel Reid’s resignation, the point is not guilt or innocence, but its demoralising effect and how society relates to accused persons, especially politicians.

Reid, at 52 years, could be grandfather of that 11-year-old who is aspiring to attend Munro College. Choosing Munro could have been influenced by geographical proximity, his father, an eminent Munronian, and possible knowledge of some of the Munronians of national prominence like Sir Donald Sangster, Professor Owen Morgan, Burchell Whiteman, Professor Fritz Pinnock, Ruel Reid, Keith Wellington, Clifford Blake, Nigel Holness, Dr Nigel Clarke, and Floyd Green, etc.

The names of many outstanding Munronians, including Ruel Reid, are on the school’s honours board. The little boy and other new students are likely to learn that it is the same Ruel Reid that was fired because of allegations of impropriety in the education ministry. What effect will it have on them and others?

Reid’s reputation has been damaged. Even if the investigations and due process should clear him of any wrongdoing, doubts will still linger for many because he has already been tried in the court of public opinion, where the abiding principle is if a nuh so, a near so!

Public Condemnation

It is quite amazing the public condemnation he has received even from many who should have been more exemplary and respectful of due process.

Called ‘Cruel Ruel’ by some critics, Reid also had many admirers who saw him as a real role model and even a paragon of virtue. For the past 40 years, Reid shone brightly: outstanding at Munro, awarded best contribution among seniors, head boy and board representative, later master teacher at his alma mater, former president of the JTA, effective headmaster at Jamaica College, and three years as minister of education – it is indisputable his significant contribution to education.

This new chapter, however, is not his finest hour. Reid’s requested resignation, or his firing by the prime minister, is not inspiring but definitely demoralising.