Samuda says action will be taken in CMU matter, if required

Samuda says action will be taken in CMU matter, if required

Senior staff reporter

Friday, January 24, 2020

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MINISTER without portfolio with responsibility for education Karl Samuda has indicated that, if the law has to be called in based on the findings of the auditor general's special report on the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and the education ministry, justice will be allowed to take its course.

“Whatever mistakes have been made that would accrue to persons who were responsible then obviously, if it requires action by the authorities, then that action must be taken,” Samuda told journalists yesterday afternoon following a meeting with staff at the CMU.

Asked if he would be prepared to call in the police if it becomes necessary, he stated: “We all know that mistakes have been made, what is important is to reflect on where you went wrong and to chart a course in a positive way as to how best to ensure it doesn't happen again, and to improve on the methods that were applied when they were going wrong.”

The tabling of the special report in the House of Representatives on Tuesday was surrounded by controversy, after a week of the leaked report being dissected in the media.

Samuda stressed that there should be no fear about the future of the CMU, as the institution is strong and manned by competent people.

“The morale of the students, from all indications, is very high, [and] the morale of the teachers, although they are concerned... We are picking up the pieces in a positive way, we cannot be stymied by our determination to dwell entirely on the past,” he stated.

He said the procurement issues laid out in the auditor general's report would be addressed as well as the fall down in the reporting mechanism between CMU and the education ministry. “We have put in place a system which will see the quick reparation of those reports for tabling through the Cabinet to Parliament,” he said.

Permanent Secretary Dr Grace McLean indicated that the 2015/2016 annual report will be ready by end of April, and the others by the end of May.

The auditor general said the CMU's Council had not faithfully prepared and submitted to respective permanent secretaries and portfolio ministers, half-yearly and annual reports nor audited financial statements.

Next Monday, the proposed membership for a new CMU Council is to be submitted to Cabinet.

“I expect that as soon as that is done then the board will meet and they will look at all the records that are available and they will be briefed by the acting president and other heads of department, and from there they will make the appropriate decisions,” the portfolio minister said.

Meanwhile, he said the staff was concerned about the lack of information flow between them and the leadership of the institution on issues such as contracts and general working conditions.

“We are far along the way of solving most of the problems that they are confronted with. We have suggested that going forward there has to be closer interaction between the leadership of the organisation and the workers,” he said.

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