Author of information technology textbooks Richard Lewis is refuting the prime minister’s claim that he, Lewis, has been providing services for the now controversial government e-books project and has been paid over $1 million for that.
“I have audio of Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Pointe FM maligning me in relation to the E-Book scandal. For the record, I have no association with any E-Book project being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, the Board of Education or Fortuna Pix. I have never been asked to write content for any of these entities nor have I written content for any of them,” he said on his Facebook page over the weekend.
He also said that he will continue to press for the “resignation of the Minister of Education, Michael Browne, and for a full investigation into the E-Book scandal … It appears as if someone has something to hide. I don’t!
Followers on his page and other social media pages where the statement was shared, have since been encouraging Lewis to take legal action.
One individual recommended, “Consult your lawyer regarding legal action. They sue for everything.”
Reference of a teacher making over a million dollars from the project was first made in the post-Cabinet press statement on Friday.
Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst wrote, “The Cabinet was informed that one teacher quit his job in order to turn a textbook into an e-book earning more than $1,395,000.”
In that statement, the individual was not named.
It was on Saturday that the prime minister went further to name Richard Lewis as one of the service providers to the project.
He said, “My understanding is that a lot of the content from these textbooks actually comes from local Antiguans and Barbudans and I believe that FortunaPIX actually pays them for the content. In fact, I’m told that one Mr. Richard Lewis has been providing content for an information technology text and I believe to date he would have earned about 1.3 or 1.4 million dollars from the Board of Education.”
The e-book project has been harshly criticised by many, including Lewis, a member of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP).
Yesterday, while speaking on OBSERVER Radio’s Big Issues, Lewis reiterated he remains concerned about whether the digitised content for secondary school students is on par with CXC standards.
Lewis said he is not against the project for students, but he continues to be concerned about the (alleged) exclusion of the technical officers within the Ministry of Education from the project when it got started.