An 11-page list of Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) scholarship winners was published on the Ministry of Education's website yesterday before being released to the media.
The release followed a front page story in yesterday's Express which stated Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh was seeking legal advice with respect to releasing the list to the media five days after publicly announcing the results.
Gopeesingh told the Express via text message on Tuesday that the privacy laws were being checked.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Gopeesingh said he had met and discussed the legal issues behind the release of the list with Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday and they worked through the question of a privacy breach.
"I know previously the names have been published and we published them last year, so I needed to seek some legal counsel, because there are so many privacy laws now," Gopeesingh said.
"We wanted to be sure that when we published the names there would be no repercussions," he said.
Gopeesingh said last year several parents threatened legal action against the State when the names of national scholarship winners were made public.
"We have to be careful," he said.
Last week at the "National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving for Schools" at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya, Gopeesingh announced the names of the two President's Medal winners, as well as which schools had won scholarships, but did not furnish the actual listing to the media in that time.
Gopeesingh said yesterday it was "absolutely ridiculous" that people suggested the delay had stemmed from Government interference in the scholarship award process.
"That is ill-founded, mischievous, calculated to create negative perceptions against the Government," he said.
He said the results from both the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and CAPE were overseen by the scholarship committee "which is an independent, transparent and fully accountable body".
Gopeesingh said this body "checked, checked, checked and then checked again" the results from those exams before forwarding the scholarship winners' list to the Chief Education Officer, who then distributed the list to the schools.
"A copy of that is forwarded to me," he said. "I am completely removed from the process," he added.
He said Cabinet would only receive a copy of the list for funding approval.