UWI snubs House

MPs push for re­forms to make univer­sity an­swer­able to Ja­maican Par­lia­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Jo­van John­son Staff Re­porter

JA­MAICA’S ELECTED rep­re­sen­ta­tives, smart­ing from be­ing snubbed by the Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI), now say that they will be push­ing for nec­es­sary changes to en­sure that the univer­sity, which, this year alone, is set to get fund­ing that could cover two govern­ment min­istries, is an­swer­able to the Par­lia­ment.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the univer­sity, which has a cam­pus in Ja­maica (Mona), the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, and the Univer­sity Coun­cil of Ja­maica were in­vited to ap­pear yes­ter­day be­fore Par­lia­ment’s Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee (PAAC) to ex­plain how they have been spend­ing tax­pay­ers’ money.

Section 73A of the Stand­ing Or­ders, which govern the rules of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, em­pow­ers the PAAC to mon­i­tor govern­ment ex­pen­di­ture.

How­ever, mem­bers were left stunned when the com­mit­tee chair­man, Dr WyKen­ham McNeill, read a let­ter from the univer­sity’s regis­trar, Wil­liam Iton, which made it clear that the UWI had no le­gal obli­ga­tion to ap­pear be­fore the Ja­maican Par­lia­ment.

“Please be ad­vised that the UWI is a pub­lic au­ton­o­mous re­gional ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion which serves 17 coun­tries in the Caribbean,” Iton said in the let­ter dated Oc­to­ber 10 to Dr Mau­rice Smith, per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry.

“The univer­sity was es­tab­lished by (Bri­tish) Royal Char­ter in 1962. The univer­sity there­fore has to be dis­tin­guished from other agen­cies of your min­istry,” the let­ter con­tin­ued.

The royal char­ter makes the in­sti­tu­tion only legally an­swer­able

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