Reid out as education minister - Samuda takes over as corruption allegations swirl

March 21, 2019
 Ruel Reid
Ruel Reid

Veteran parliamentarian Karl Samuda has been assigned responsibility for the Education Ministry following the resignation of Ruel Reid.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that he asked Reid to step down to clear the way amid an investigation into allegations of corruption at the ministry.

On Monday, the parliamentary opposition revealed that it has reports of misuse of public funds and corruption.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips said the allegations are related directly to the Caribbean Maritime University and the use of funds sent to the ministry by the HEART Trust for the Career Advancement Programme as well as the Technical, Vocational, Educational and Training Rationalisation Project.

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) are among the groups to comment on Reid's resignation.

The JTA, in a release, said it was "shocked and surprised". The association said that it would continue to monitor the development within the ministry "because education is too important a sector to be shrouded in alleged corruption and controversy."

Meanwhile, the JCC, in its press release, said that while it was not aware of the details of the allegations, "one benchmark of good governance is that if there are substantive imputations of impropriety, the persons at the centre of those allegations should step aside - even temporarily - without the shadow of their presence casting doubt on the investigative process."

The JCC also said that while it commended Prime Minister Andrew Holness for initiating the process, "we nonetheless are concerned that in a matter of months, two Cabinet-level ministers have had to step down", referring to the earlier resignation of Energy Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley.

"We look forward to quick and transparent updates on the process and the results of the pending investigation," the statement concluded.

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