Brown Burke raises concerns regarding breaches within education ministryThursday, April 29, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Dr Angela Brown Burke, Opposition spokesperson on education and training, says she is alarmed by reports of several cases of conflicts of interest, as well as breaches of good governance principles within the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEY&I) and related agencies.
Brown Burke, in a statement yesterday, said of particular concern has been the award of HEART/NSTA Trust contracts, last year, of up to $40 million in value to SynCon Technologies, a company owned by HEART Chairman, Edward Gabbidon. HEART/NSTA Trust reports directly to the prime minister.
“The public would have expected that, after the scandalous dealings at the Caribbean Maritime University resulting in criminal charges against the former Minister of Education and the former principal of CMU, the ministry would have scrupulously avoided any further cases of cronyism and self-dealing,” said Brown Burke.
The Opposition spokesperson shared that, “The lack of response on the part of the Office of the Prime Minister to date represents a further dereliction of duty. The Jamaican people deserve to know whether or not Prime Minister Andrew Holness was aware of or approved such contracts.”
Civil society organisation and government watchdog agency; National Integrity Action (NIA), recently echoed these sentiments, as well as outlined several additional questions, which remain unanswered, Brown Burke noted.
Concerns related to additional conflicts of interest have since been raised regarding two multi-billion dollar programmes at the MOEY&I: Career Advancement Programme (CAP) and the Centre of Occupational Studies (COS).
Brown Burke is calling for a performance audit of CAP programmes delivered through Western Hospitality Institute (WHI), as it has been allocated the lion's share of government funds.
“It is unacceptable that the prime minister is yet to make a statement on these matters which are eroding public trust and fall directly within his portfolio responsibilities,” concluded Brown Burke.
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