JC board says acting principal not overpaid
REID... remains principal of JC

Jamaica College (JC) board Chairman Michael Bernard says Acting Principal Wayne Robinson has not been overpaid for the over five years that he has been in the post at the all-boys high school.

Bernard spoke with the Jamaica Observer yesterday ahead of a meeting of the board of management convened following weeks of engagement with the education ministry, and having noted the statements made by Minister Fayval Williams in Parliament on Wednesday in relation to matters concerning Ruel Reid, who is still principal, and the role of the board.

Robinson had taken up the interim position when Reid was seconded from the school to serve as minister of education in 2016, initially for two years.

Reid was asked to quit the Cabinet by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in March 2019 amidst corruption allegations. The former minister was arrested late 2019 on charges of defrauding the education ministry of millions of dollars. He subsequently went on special leave on the recommendation of the JC board. He remains before the courts on those charges.

The Government has been paying out over $11 million (gross) in annual salaries and benefits to Reid and the acting principal combined, inclusive of motor vehicle upkeep of $74,577 each, and housing allowance of $35,481 each. The breakdown of the remuneration packages are almost identical, with Reid's amounting to $5.5 and Robinson's $5.7 million.

On the question of whether the acting principal's pay package should reflect the remuneration for his substantive post, instead of a principal's salary in light of provisions in the regulations to the 1965 Education Act given that Reid is still principal, Bernard stressed that there was no overpayment.

“The payment to the acting principal is approved by both the board and the Ministry of Education, so there is nothing untoward with respect to payment, it's part of the standard payment arrangement for what Mr Robinson does, whatever that figure is,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Bernard also confirmed that Reid has made a request for extension of special leave but has not specified if it's with or without pay, but noted that special leave is usually paid.

At the same time, he emphasised that the board has not made a recommendation to the education ministry with respect to the request.

“What the board has done is, having received a letter from Mr Reid, dated August 2, on August 5 we sent it to the ministry requesting guidance with respect to how to treat that request,” Bernard said.

On Tuesday, members of the parliamentary Opposition tackled portfolio minister Williams with questions about the extension of special leave for the JC principal, but she argued that the Education Act gives public school teachers the right to special leave, with or without pay, and that there were no provisions in the legislation for arrangements around an indictment, as would apply, for example, to members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force when they are sent off on leave without pay while matters are investigated or before the courts.

BY ALPHEA SUMNER Senior staff reporter saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy