Fri | Oct 15, 2021

Maureen Dwyer to act as permanent secretary while Grace McLean goes on leave

Published:Wednesday | October 13, 2021 | 5:34 PM
Chief Inspector in the National Education Inspectorate Maureen Dwyer.

Chief Inspector in the National Education Inspectorate Maureen Dwyer is to replace Dr Grace McLean as acting permanent secretary in the Education Ministry as of October 14, 2021.

McLean will be going on leave in light of a damning report by the Auditor General on fiduciary failings surrounding the payment of $124 million to the Joint Committee on Tertiary Education (JCTE).

The Office of the Prime Minister said McLean's leave will ensure there is no hindrance to the course of the investigations.

"The Government anticipates that the investigations will be thorough and expeditious," said a spokesperson in a release.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis has suggested that Education Minister Fayval Williams call in the police or a designated anti-corruption body to investigate the matter.

At the same time, the auditor general has recommended that the Finance Ministry institute surcharge action against two senior officers, including McLean, on the basis that they failed in their fiduciary duty.

The Auditor-General said the senior technocrats failed to ensure that Government funds were appropriated in keeping with the requisite law and established guidelines and that arrangements were put in place to safeguard government resources.

Monroe Ellis reported that McLean permitted the transfer of $11 million to the Dr Cecil Cornwall-chaired JCTE after the body became a private entity.

The JCTE was the entity that shocked officials last year after it became private in February 2019 blocking the auditor general's investigation into use of government funds connected to the Caribbean Maritime University scandal.

In July 2020, McLean told PAC members that she first became aware that the JCTE had become a private entity when the auditor general requested information from the entity and the documents could not be provided.

McLean said she wrote letters to no avail, asking for the documents to be submitted to the auditor general.

The acting permanent secretary said after discovering that the JCTE had become a private entity, she curtailed the arrangement that was in place with the ministry.

McLean said she wrote to the chairman on June 8, 2020, stating that the ministry could no longer continue the previous arrangement now that it had changed its status to a private entity.

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