President of the Caribbean Maritime University, Professor Fritz Pinnock, has defended the hiring of former North West St. Ann Member of Parliament Othneil Lawrence, who is still employed as a consultant to the university.
Speaking in Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, P-A-A-C, today (May 15), Professor Pinnock sought to clarify that Mr. Lawrence is an advisor to the university and not himself.
He said Mr. Lawrence was hired at a cost of 5.4 million dollars annually, to assist with recruitment activities for students under the cap program because of his ability to connect with them.
Professor Pinnock said he was a part of the panel that interviewed Mr. Lawrence to assist with a program for at risk youth.
He noted that the two had been corresponding dating back to 2011 when Mr. Lawrence was a State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, which the university was previously under.
Facing criticism from P–A–A–C members about the way in which Mr. Lawrence was engaged by the university and whether or not procurement guidelines were followed, Professor Pinnock reiterated that the consultant was chosen from a pool of applicants.
He said Mr. Lawrence was employed on a part-time basis to work on a project at the university because of the particular skill set that he possesses.