The Caribbean Maritime University, CMU, is defending its decision to employ former Member of Parliament for North West St. Ann, the JLP’s, Othneill Lawrence, as an advisor.

The Peoples’ National Party, PNP, previously raised concerns about Mr. Lawrence and others they allege were being hired by the government while doing no work.

However, at today’s meeting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, PAAC, CMU President, Fritz Pinnock, praised Mr. Lawrence’s contribution in assisting the University to reach at risk youth.

Chevon Campbell has that story.

CMU President Professor Fritz Pinnock, told today’s sitting of the PAAC that Former MP Othneill Lawrence was instrumental in helping to implement a transformational programme at the University.

He pointed to the difficulty faced by the university to engage a number of the troubled youth in the country.

Professor Pinnock referenced one occasion where a young man at the university was being recruited to carry out a contract killing.

He says academics aren’t trained to handle such situations.

Reports of Mr. Lawrence’s 5 and a half million dollar contract with the CMU raised eyebrows after he was reportedly hired just months after then Education Minister, Ruel Reid, replaced him as caretaker for the North West St. Ann constituency.

PAAC members questioned how Mr. Lawrence came to be employed to the CMU, to which Professor Pinnock stated he was hired directly by the University.

He told the PAAC that Mr. Lawrence had long been in contact with the University and had submitted a CV previously which joined a pool from which the institution draws from.

Professor Pinnock assured the comittee that the proper procedure was adhered to in hiring the former JLP MP.