Fritz Pinnock takes leave of absence amid CMU corruption probe
President of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Professor Fritz Pinnock, is to go on leave amid ongoing corruption investigations involving former Minister of Education, Ruel Reid, the Education Ministry and the University.
In a statement this afternoon, a spokesperson said Pinnock indicated his decision in a letter to the chairman of the University Council.
“In the interest of all, I have elected to go on six weeks of voluntary leave, effective today July 5, 2019. This will allow the various investigations in progress, time to conclude their findings and recommendations,” Pinnock was quoted as saying in his letter.
The spokesperson says Pinnock believes that while the investigations are important, the related issues should not overshadow the integrity of the CMU, the work of its management and staff and the reputation of the university and the students.
The CMU boss has faced criticism from some quarters following revelations about the management of the university at parliament’s Public Administration and Appreciation Committee (PAAC).
The most recent disclosed was on Wednesday when the committee was told that a second household helper assigned to Reid was the recipient of contracts from CMU.
The committee heard that Maureen Blake, while still being paid by the Ministry of Education, was contracted by the CMU to provide services along with councillor for the Brown’s Town Division Kim Brown Lawrence and a St Ann company.
Already linked to the CMU was another of Reid’s helpers, Doreen Miller, who was said to have received millions after payments by the CMU made to consultant Gail Dunwell Campbell were diverted to her.
At a previous (PAAC) sitting, Pinnock admitted that the CMU paid out over $600,000 towards a yacht party for the discarded education minister.
He was also forced to explain his description of the party as an “industry function” after documents submitted to the committee showed he was aware that the soirée was organised by a group called ‘Friends of Ruel Reid’ to recognise the former minister’s achievements.
According to the documents, the east Kingston-based university paid two companies a total of $674,930 to rent and decorate the yacht.
The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) has announced that its President, Professor Fritz Pinnock, has opted to take a leave of absence, in light of the ongoing investigation of the former Minister of Education Youth and Information, the Ministry and the University.
Pinnock stated in a letter to the University Council Chairman that, ‘In the interest of all, I have elected to go on six weeks of voluntary leave, effective today July 5, 2019. This will allow the various investigations in progress, time to conclude their findings and recommendations.’
Professor Pinnock believes that while the investigations are important, the related issues should not overshadow the integrity of the CMU, the work of its management and staff and most importantly the reputation of the university and the students it serves.
As a result, for greater transparency, and for the university to continue pursuing its vision to be the maritime university of choice for global leaders, he believes that this is the right thing to do at this time.
He adds that ‘the CMU is a great asset, and it would be selfish of me to continue allowing folks to destroy what so many have worked to build. CMU as a brand is secure and will continue growing.’
CMU is the first specialised university in Jamaica with a mission to redefine maritime excellence through innovation and technology.