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Former St Ann North West MP declines comment on $5.5 m contract as CMU adviser

Published:Wednesday | March 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Lawrence ... I am not clear what is happening here.

Livern Barrett, Senior Staff Reporter

Former St Ann North West Member of Parliament Othneil Lawrence has declined to comment on reports that he signed a $5.5 million contract to serve as an adviser to the president of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Dr Fritz Pinnock.

CMU operates under the Ministry of Education, that was headed by Ruel Reid, who is also the Jamaica Labour Party candidate for the constituency once held by Lawrence.

"I am not clear what is happening here," Lawrence said, referring queries to the CMU.

However, Pinnock could not be contacted by phone as his numbers rang without an answer.

IN PHOTO: Ruel Reid

This morning, Reid resigned as minister after he was asked to do so by Prime Minister Andrew Holness amid a series of corruption allegations.

He also resigned as a senator.

"Minister Reid's resignation will ensure that any investigation into matters of concern will not be in any way impeded by his presence or oversight of the Ministry," said Prime Minister Holness in a statement this morning.

The Gleaner has obtained information that Lawrence's contract to serve as Pinnock's adviser took effect on April 1, 2018.

IN PHOTO: Fritz Pinnock

Two months later, Reid was confirmed as Lawrence's replacement as the St Ann North West caretaker.

Lawrence said he gave up the constituency because he felt it was time to step away from representational politics.

On Monday, the People's National Party raised concerns that people were being paid from the public purse although they were not showing up for work.

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