Anil to Speaker: I want no favours

 Sport Minister Anil Roberts said yesterday he wants no favours from House Speaker Wade Mark to have any private meeting to discuss Mark’s  Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA).

Instead, he said he will now seek answers from The University of the West Indies (UWI) Pro Vice Chancellor Nigel Harris on the issue.

Roberts boycotted the Parliament sitting Friday and wrote to Mark requesting leave of absence and clarification in the award of his EMBA.

Mark has not responded to Roberts’s letter but told the Express he will not hold any discussion with any MP via the media and that it was unfortunate the minister did not seek to discuss the matter with him privately.

Roberts said yesterday while he respects the decision of the Speaker, he  believes this country deserves an explanation.

“First of all, I would like to thank the Express because without the Express I would not have known that my leave of absence was not granted by the Speaker. I adhere and I respect all the principles, conventions and practices under which the Member of Parliament are bound and under the jurisdiction of the Speaker I respect all his decisions,” said Roberts in a telephone interview.

He pointed out there were repercussions if a member breaches House rules and is not granted leave of absence from the Speaker, and as such, he will continue to attend Parliament as he was elected to represent the people.

“I humbly respectfully decline the Speaker’s offer to have a private back door meeting because this issue is one of public interest and I do not think I need special treatment. I personally do not want any special treatment whatsoever, whether it’s based on my anxiety or my ability to perform well under pressure,” said Roberts.

Roberts noted the full-page newspaper advertisements taken out by The UWI to explain itself on the award of Mark’s EMBA.

He noted further the ad stated that from time to time, based on professional and personal circumstances, students can request concessions which will usually be granted, once they are consistent with The UWI regulations.

Roberts said there were many questions he intends to send to UWI Pro Vice Chancellor Harris on the issue, namely:

• Is it usual for students to request a private sitting of an examination?

• If all 39 participants in the programme request private sitting will they all receive private sittings with 39 invigilators?

• How many previous graduates have been given the opportunity to sit an exam privately with their own special invigilator? If so, why were they granted this concession?

• Are the 14 courses taken as a whole or can they be divided year to year? 

• Is it possible to pass course work in one year while failing the exam and in the other year pass the exam and fail the course work yet the two years be taken cumulatively to give an overall pass? Is that the principle and procedure of the university? Is the course itself taken as a whole, i.e. course work and final exam.

Roberts also took issue with Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley’s statement that his beef was with The UWI and not Mark.

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