CMU students still ‘unable to register for classes’ – despite gov’t promises

Chief of Staff in the prime minister’s office, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst (Photo courtesy the office of the prime minister)
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Despite repeated assurances from the government, students at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) in Jamaica have said that they are still unable to register for classes and receive their degrees a week on.

Last Monday, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst explained that the government had agreed to pay tuition for the students at a specific rate, which was paid during the students’ first two years at the learning institution.

However, he said the school sought to change the agreement in the third year of the students’ study.

Hurst said the issue was further complicated after multiple high-ranking officials at the school were slapped with charges in connection with a multimillion-Jamaican-dollar fraud and corruption scandal.

Following several months of investigations by multiple investigative bodies, former Minister of Education Ruel Reid, along with his wife Sharen and daughter Sharelle, as well as CMU president Professor Fritz Pinnock and Jamaica Labour Party Councillor Kim Brown-Lawrence, were arrested and slapped with multiple fraud and corruption charges in 2019.

The matter remains before the court.

Hurst had also indicated that the students had been able to register as reconciliatory talks had begun, a claim that was repeated in last week’s Cabinet meeting report released on Thursday.

“The Treasury has paid what is owed under the agreement. However, a new management at CMU has unilaterally changed that agreement, requiring fresh negotiations. The students have been registered while a reconciliation continues,” the notes said.

However, the students, who have largely remained quiet in the media on the matter, said that they are yet to register.

They said while they were happy for the support from the government, there still seems to be hesitation from the CMU administration.

The students told Observer that upon hearing the news of reconciliatory talks that had been said to have paved the way for their registration, they contacted a high-ranking official from the school, but were told that discussions with the government remain ongoing and they would be updated by the end of last week.

However, the students are yet to receive such an update, leaving their future at the university uncertain.

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