Mon | Aug 3, 2020

Duggan ready for CMU challenge as interim president

Published:Sunday | May 24, 2020 | 12:22 AMErica Virtue - Senior Gleaner Writer

Professor Evan Duggan, who has been appointed interim president of the CMU.
Professor Evan Duggan, who has been appointed interim president of the CMU.

The new captain appointed to steer the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) ship through choppy seas as a corruption probe engulfs the institution says he will not be going in blind when he takes up the post as interim president on June 1.

“I have never ran from challenge,” Professor Evan Duggan told The Sunday Gleaner. “But, the good thing is that I have a board of distinguished individuals and I am pleased that they have entrusted me and the team to restore the institution’s image.”

The CMU has been in the spotlight since March 2019, when then Education Minister Ruel Reid was booted from the Andrew Holness Cabinet as several state agencies carried out probes into reports of financial mismanagement and corruption at a number of entities under the education ministry, including the university.

Last October, Reid as well as his wife Sharen and daughter Sharelle were arrested and charged, along with Brown’s Town councillor Kim Brown Lawrence and CMU President Professor Fritz Pinnock, as the probe deepened.

Reid and Pinnock face most of the charges, which include breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act, conspiracy to defraud, misconduct in a public office at common law and breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

A probe by the Auditor General’s Department last year also painted a messy picture of the state of affairs at the east Kingston-based university, raising a red flag over cases of financial and administrative mismanagement.

Duggan said he was “not mad” to take on the appointment, which has tasked him to clean up the facility and move to repair the tarnished image of the CMU in light of the scandal which has also damaged the reputations of the several individuals linked to the university.

“I have given a commitment to serve the institution as an interim president and I am also aware of the task ahead, given all that has transpired and what is in the public domain. This is a rebuilding process and I have a track record of academic successes, but most of all, I value and cherish my integrity more than anything else,” Duggan told The Sunday Gleaner.

As treasurer, he will have experienced chartered accountant Joy Harrison, whose appointment was also announced last week, as they move to fix the administrative issues in the college’s finance department.

Duggan’s latest job is another lead role in post-retirement life as less than a year ago, he was appointed chairman of the board of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).

Three months ago, he was conferred with professor emeritus status by The University of the West Indies, where he was also lauded for outstanding contribution to the Mona School of Business and Management.

Duggan said the new appointment will not impact his duties as the hospital’s chairman as he is not required to be at the physical plant on a daily basis. Some established accountability frameworks are also in place at UHWI, he said.

Professor Duggan’s tenure at The UWI began more than a decade ago at the Department of Management Studies (now the Mona School of Business and Management). He became professor in 2006.

Duggan retired from The UWI in 2014 after serving two years as dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He continued in the position on two post-retirement contracts, which ended in 2016.

His academic career was preceded by work with then Aluminium Company of Canada (Alcan) in information systems. After Alcan, he went to the University of Alabama before returning to The UWI.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com