Fri | Dec 13, 2019

Reid, Pinnock arrests leave Munro embarrassed

Published:Friday | October 11, 2019 | 12:38 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
 The ancient buildings at the entrance of Munro College at Malvern, St Elizabeth.
The ancient buildings at the entrance of Munro College at Malvern, St Elizabeth.

The Munro College community has reacted with shock to news that two of its most prominent past students, Professor Fritz Pinnock and former Education Minister Ruel Reid, were arrested in a wide-ranging corruption probe in the education ministry.

Reid, his wife Sharen, and daughter Sharelle were taken into custody along with Pinnock and Brown’s Town councillor Kim Brown-Lawrence early Wednesday morning as the investigating agencies made their first arrests in a year-long probe.

Although he was years ahead of Reid in school, president of the Munro College Old Boys’ Association Victor Johnson told The Gleaner yesterday that his two younger brothers, who are deceased, and his sister, who lives overseas, knew Reid well. He could not offer much about Pinnock other than confirm that he attended Munro at the same time Reid did.

“I was speaking to my sister on Wednesday night, and she was quite distraught. She went to Munro’s sister school, Hampton, and she remembers Reid quite well,” he said.

“We at Munro are astonished and slightly embarrassed over this negative news. That is not something we strive to be. It is only now that charges have been laid, and so we await the outcome. This is not something we want Munro old boys to be a part of,” Johnson said.

The old boys’ association president told The Gleaner that Reid is a paid-up member of the organisation while Pinnock is not.

“He (Reid) is not a part of the leadership and has not served on any committee, but has always been a paid-up member. I understand that this year, he has not paid the $5,000 annual fee, but I suppose it is because of all this distraction,” he said.

Johnson revealed further that neither Reid – who was “always an accomplished person, not dunce or shy, and always doing things and taking up leadership positions”, – nor Pinnock would ever have the honour of being inducted into the institution’s hall of fame if convicted.

Reflecting on Reid’s time at Munro, Johnson said: “He was much closer to the church than to gambling houses or rum bars. He wasn’t a man you could say, ‘Mi know, enuh, because mi did see him one time.’”

He added: “People are surprised and I suppose you can call it shocked at the turn of events. If they are convicted, [they cannot be inducted], but if they are cleared, that should not be held against them. Time heals wounds.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com