Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Arthur Williams, has said that the dismissal of Executive Director of the Student’s Loan Bureau (SLB), Lenice Barnett, was not linked to her recent comments to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) regarding proposed increases in fees for tertiary education.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Arthur Williams.
Senator Williams said that the facts are that the Public Accountability Inspectorate Division of the Ministry carried out an audit of the SLB, and delivered a report to the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, the Hon Audley Shaw, on Monday July 26, three (3) days before she appeared before the PAC.
However, he explained, Mr. Shaw left Jamaica the same day on Government business and returned on Sunday. He said Tuesday (August 10) was the Minister’s first opportunity to deal with the report.
The state minister was responding to a statement from the Opposition’s spokesperson on Education, Senator Basil Waite, suggesting that the dismissal was an attempt to “muzzle” Mrs. Barnett.
Mr. Shaw announced Tuesday (August 10) that the Mrs. Barnett’s services had been terminated with immediate effect. He also advised that, following a meeting with the Chairman of the Board of the SLB Tuesday, he would be meeting with the entire Board Wednesday morning.
A temporary manager will be named, to ensure that the work of the Bureau proceeds smoothly, until a new Executive Director is appointed, Mr. Shaw said.
Senator Williams said that a more detailed statement on matter will be issued following Wednesday’s meeting with the Board of the Bureau.