Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Gleaner The VOLUME 80 NO. 1 KINGSTON, JAMAICA 114 PAGES INCLUDING GCT $140 SUNDAY, JANUARY 6, 2019 Wrong lessons at e-Learning Arthur Hall Associate Editor ALLEGATIONS OF cronyism, nepotism and mismanagement have surfaced around yet another entity in the former Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology. This time it is e-Learning Jamaica, which is being placed under the microscope as sources claim all is not well inside the entity. Chairman of the board of directors of e-Learning Jamaica, Christopher Reckord, has admitted that the entity has issues, but he told The Sunday Gleaner that these were long-standing, dating back several years, and they are being addressed. According to Reckord, major organisa- tional changes are coming for the company in addition to those already made. “Since the inception of the board in 2016, it was found that the organisation was not operating at its optimal, and as such the board was mandated to assess and imple- ment measures that would ensure proper governance practices,” said Reckord. CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST DECLARATIONS He added that among the changes already implemented are mandatory conflict-of- interest declarations for members of the board and all staff members, and a corporate governance subcommittee which is mandated to monitor its adherence to good-governance principles. Reckord was responding to reports reach- ing The Sunday Gleaner that a general looseness in the operations of e-Learning, which is mandated to carry out integration and infusion of technology in the public education system by working with the Ministry of Education, could see taxpayers bilked out of millions of dollars, through unethical, if not fraudulent, transactions. The Sunday Gleaner sources have pointed to instances of thousands of dollars of travelling allowances overpaid monthly to senior managers who authorised the pay- ments themselves. There have also been allegations of persons not listed as staff members benefiting from the company’s health insurance scheme, and instances where family members of senior staff members were paid exorbitant amounts to make deliveries to schools despite cheaper and more practical transportation being available. A recent gap analysis of e-Learning, done by the Caribbean Centre for Organisation Development Excellence (CARI-CODE), found the abuse of power by some managers, poor performance by the senior management team and persons being in positions without the requisite qualifications. The report highlighted instances where persons were employed to posts without the requisite qualification, and the sources say this has been the case for years with family members, spouses, and even children of some senior staff being placed in positions for which they were not qualified or in posi- tions that were created to accommodate them. Among the qualification gaps highlighted in the CARI-CODE report is the key post of procurement coordinator/project manager which was occupied by a consultant with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and not the BSc in management, accounting, business administration or related qualifica- tion in project management and procure- ment which the post requires. CARI-CODE further reported that there was no documentation available to review the substantive job experience of the person holding that post. Equally glaring, the report highlighted, Board chairman vows major changes in wake of allegations of mismanagement and corruption PLEASE SEE LESSON , A3 Landlords illegally refusing to rent to persons with children T HE RENT Restriction Act of 1983 makes it illegal for landlords to discriminate against potential tenants on the basis that they have children, but scores of landlords are banning the babies and getting away with it. Under Section 4A Subsection 1 of the Rent Restriction Act, “A person shall not, as a condition for the grant, renewal or continuance of a tenancy of any controlled premises consisting of a dwelling house, require that no children shall reside with the tenant in that dwelling house.” A5: Wedding nightmare: Couple devastated by fatal shooting of close friend before their reception at Glistening Waters SEE FULL STORY ON A2. I told her it was me and my family, and she asked what I meant by family. When I said ‘me and my kids’, she said ‘No, I can’t rent my house to anybody with kids.’ “ ” RECKORD