The Jamaica Labour Party’s standard-bearer for North West St. Ann, Senator Ruel Reid, is insisting that no vote-buying is taking place in the constituency.
Reid is also the Education Minister. He was responding to concerns from Opposition Spokesman on Education, Reverend Ronald Thwaites.
In a statement to the media last evening, Thwaites called for the Auditor General to investigate what he says is Minister Reid’s commitment of some $61-million to schools in North West St. Ann where he’s the JLP’s candidate-elect.
Thwaites says the Auditor General must ensure the funds allocated to education are not being secretly diverted for political campaign purposes.
The statement says the PNP has taken note of pledges made by Minister Reid to some schools in North West St. Ann during his attendance at graduation exercises at schools in the constituency.
The nine schools are Sturge Town Primary, Browns Town High, Browns Town Primary, Hoolebury Primary, York Castle High, Runaway Bay All Age, St Hilda’s High, Bamboo Primary and Junior High and Glen Preparatory.
Minister Reid attended the graduation ceremonies held by those schools.
The Opposition says they’re perturbed that the Education Minister could be using his ministerial position and authority to give the JLP a political advantage in North West St Ann.
When Nationwide News contacted Minister Reid, he rubbished the accusations. He says the monies announced are funds that were already allocated for the schools under a comprehensive plan by the Education Ministry.
The Minister says while attending the graduations, he merely reiterated the Education Ministry’s plans for the schools in the area.
Minister Reid says the comprehensive plan extends to schools across the island.
And, he says there’s no politics at play in North West St. Ann.
The Education Minister provided Nationwide News with copies of the comprehensive plans, listing all schools islandwide to benefit from the programme.
On the Ministry’s critical care programme, a number of the schools in North West St. Ann are listed.
Those schools are Sturge Town Primary, Runaway Bay All Age, Browns Town High School and Hoolebury Primary.
Each school will be undergoing renovation works. A budget of 1.5-million has been earmarked for each school.