Let's not overlook some important factors in the case against Reid, et al

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Ruel Reid is the kind of man you could describe as a lifelong educator; his interest, his career, his life's work is the business of education. And quite frankly he was exceptionally good at it. Reid led the transformation of Jamaica College (JC) at a time when the all-boys school needed a veritable saviour.

His impeccable work at JC endeared him to the 2007 Jamaica Labour Party Administration whose then education minister, now Prime Minister Andrew Holness, engaged him as an advisor in the Ministry of Education.

So sound was his advice, guidance and initiative with regard to the improvement of the education sector that he was again engaged by the Jamaica Labour Party, this time as senator and education minister following the party's victory in the 2016 General Elections.

It was my belief that his appointment was truly wise and would bear tremendous fruit for the future of education in Jamaica. With his track record, experience in the administration of education, his dedication to the sector and indeed his spirituality, the public felt Reid was a perfect fit for the portfolio.

But somewhere along the line things started to go wrong. None of us know for sure, when, how or why. What we do know is that Reid found himself at the centre of a spiralling scandal that took Jamaica by surprise. I am never one to point fingers. I, like all Jamaicans, await the facts of the allegations against Mr Reid, but I must express my sadness and disappointment at how this fiasco has unfolded and indeed the fact that Reid came to be embroiled in such a disaster in the first place.

It was an incredible shock to me and I dare say to his colleagues in Cabinet, the Senate, the wider Jamaica Labour Party and the public at large. I was so deeply perturbed at the news and grew increasingly surprised with every revelation.

I cannot imagine how the former Minister Reid must feel now, having lost everything, not least of all his reputation. Within the space of a few weeks, all he had worked for, built, and accomplished crumbled around him. And, what's worse, his family became implicated in the scandal.

I cannot imagine the toll this must have taken on the man and his family. What I can imagine is that he must be at his lowest point. With the matter now before the court, I await the airing of the facts, and the innocence or guilt of the parties including Reid, to be rightfully determined by the court. Until then, I reserve any further comments.

What I will say is, with all the noise, the pointing of fingers and the frenzied talks by the Opposition, whose relevance outside of perceived scandals emerging from the Jamaica Labour Party is questionable, it is possible that a few important factors could be missed.

1. Reid was booted from the Cabinet as soon as allegations surfaced, the Jamaica Labour Party acted swiftly and decisively on the matter; there was no attempt to cover up for or defend Reid.

2. State bodies MOCA, C-TOC and FID were able to act freely and without interference, this is an example of good governance.

3. The court has final authority to adjudicate on the matter before it, not the Opposition, who cannot act as a paragon of virtue and whose corrupt history betrays its purported anti-corrupt stance.

5. No one but Reid and those implicated in the scandal can be assumed to be responsible for the allegations brought.

All in all, I am disappointed at the turn of the events that have landed Reid, his family, and the Caribbean Maritime University at this very low point. It is a blot on the kind of society we are seeking to build and we must work hard to overcome it.

Roshean Williams

rosheanjwilliams@gmail.com


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