PAAC meeting with UWI postponedTuesday, December 06, 2016
KINGSTON. Jamaica — Parliament has advised, in a release this afternoon, that the controversial Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) meeting with representatives of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, has again been cancelled.
Tomorrow's meeting, which follows a previously cancelled meeting set by the PAAC in October, was expected to allow the committee and the UWI to discuss the issue of whether the committee has a right to summon UWI representatives for a review of its use of Jamaica's budget allocations to the institution.
However, the UWI has insisted that it is not answerable to the Jamaican Parliament over how it spends its resources.
Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles has commented that the UWI is not accountable to any single Parliament in the region, as it belongs to the region and no single country.
Beckles has also stated that the regional practice is that the campuses in Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica report to their Cabinet ministers responsible for education and finance and, in Jamaica's case, the minister of health as well, due to the presence of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) at Mona.
"The minister would then report to Parliament. The university does not belong to Jamaica or Barbados, it belongs to the region," Beckles said.
The UWI said that, as a contributor, the university understood Jamaica's need for accountability. However, its letter referred the committee to the Jamaican Government, which has a representative on UWI's finance committee.
PAAC chairman, Dr Wykeham McNeill, first raised the issue in October following a letter from UWI registrar, William Iton, stating that the institution is a public autonomous regional body to which Jamaica is only one contributor.
But the PAAC has insisted that Parliament, as the highest accountability authority for Government resources, must have a say when Jamaica's tax revenues are involved.