PAAC raises more questions as CMU-Ruel Reid controversy deepens

PAAC members Mikael Phillips and Fitz Jackson
The list of people connected to dismissed education minister Ruel Reid who received a contract from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) could get longer, with questions now swirling about his alleged driver.
Already, it has been revealed that one of his former household helpers had received a catering contract, while another was paid about $4 million from a contract an overseas consultant had with the CMU.
On Wednesday, opposition member of parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) Mikael Phillips introduced a new name - Devon McQueen. 
"Is Devon McQueen hired by the CMU to supply meals for the CAP-YES programme? Was Devon McQueen employed by the Ministry of Education as a driver to the former Minister of Education, Ruel Reid?" he questioned. 
His colleague, Fitz Jackson, further questioned whether Mr. McQueen was employed at any other government institution or school, noting that he had received information that Mr. McQueen was employed at Jamaica College. 
Last week, the PAAC learnt that a St. Ann Councillor had also received a catering contract under CMU's Career Advancement Programme-Youth Empowerment Solutions project (CAP-YES).
In addition, it was revealed that one of the CMU's key collaborators is Mr. Reid's business partner.
The business partner, Balford Peart, is the man the CMU said asked it to pay for services for a party for Mr. Reid to settle a debt owed to Mr. Peart.
Mr. Phillips has requested a full list of all the contractors paid by the CMU under the CAP-YES programme.
Mr. Phillips also had questions about travel expenses for CMU President Professor Fritz Pinnock, asking: "Did the CMU pay the travel expenses for Professor Pinnock and other senior executives at the CMU to attend the launch of Education and Health Foundation, launched in early 2018 in Florida?"
Professor Pinnock is currently on six weeks' leave of absence.
Following Wednesday's PAAC meeting, attention has also been turned to Hyacinth Bennett, Chairman of the CMU Council.
Mr. Phillips questioned whether there were links between the CMU and the Hydel Group of Schools, which was founded by Mrs Bennett.

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