Bunting demands explanation from CMU board members

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Bunting demands explanation from CMU board members

Monday, January 20, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Opposition spokesman on education and training Peter Bunting has expressed concern about the state of affairs at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) based on a series of reports in the media on aspects of the auditor general's findings at the institution.

“The reports highlight a situation of systemic and sustained abuse of public trust as well as severe dereliction of duty on the part of the council that has been charged with the task of providing governance and oversight,” said Bunting in a media release.

“While the resignation of all board members is a given, the taxpayers of the country are entitled to a full accounting of the stewardship of the board. Silence on the part of resigned board members is not acceptable,” added Bunting.

According to the Opposition spokesman, he is looking forward to engaging the members of the board at the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament with a view to determining how they exercised oversight of this important institution.

“The concern arising from the auditor general's report, and the lack of fiduciary oversight, also has implications for the reputation and effective functioning of the CMU.

“The institution has been deeply tainted by these developments and the confidence the general public will have in the institution is likely to become impaired,” declared Bunting.

He argued that the developments at CMU are not isolated in terms of challenges facing the education sector.

“There are several other developments which warrant focused leadership and further examination. These include the fact that to date, almost a year since the firing of the minister of education, no minister has been appointed; the tensions at the Edna Manley College and the unfair treatment of its principal; the migration of teachers from the classroom, particularly in the areas of math and the sciences; and the absence of a satisfactory explanation for the Government's decision to cut the funding that was earmarked to provide scholarships for in-service teachers in these disciplines to upgrade their skills,” said Bunting.

According to Bunting, he has also noted the regrettable and unlawful attempt by the Speaker of the House to withhold the auditor general's report from Parliament while parts of the report were leaked to the media.

“This is another departure from the tradition of impartiality by the speaker which is important to the proper functioning of Parliament. These matters require further discussion and [I intend] to say more on them is short order,” said Bunting.

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