'Birthday party' questions still unanswered

'Birthday party' questions still unanswered

Friday, May 17, 2019

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Dear Editor,

President of Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMU) Dr Fritz Pinnock gave some interesting responses when he appeared before the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) in Parliament recently. Nonetheless, I've always learned that if something doesn't sound right, it probably isn't.

Dr Pinnock denied that the CMU hosted the 50th birthday party at a north coast hotel for embattled former Minister of Education Ruel Reid, who we understand is now the subject of a criminal investigation. Pinnock also denied that CMU paid for a yacht birthday party for Reid. He, instead, described as an “industry” function.

We know that several CMU students, formally dressed, attended the event and formed an honour guard. Were other tertiary students also in attendance? What about officials from other institutions? When one is invited to a party, one is usually aware of who is hosting, why didn't Dr Pinnock just divulge that information?

Dr Pinnock also stated that as president of CMU he was not 'assigned' an advisor, but confirmed that former Jamaica Labour Party Member of Parliament Othneil Lawrence was hired as an advisor at the institution with a salary of $5 million per year. Who approved the hiring of Lawrence, and what special skills and knowledge did Lawrence have which qualified him to be an advisor to the university?

And what a coincidence that the hiring took place just eight weeks before Lawrence resigned from politics, ostensibly to facilitate the former minister to assume the role of caretaker of the constituency, which would enable him to later run as a Jamaica Labour Party candidate in the next election.

Oh, what a tangled web they weave.

P Chin


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