Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2014 Contents A5
August 24, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Sports ambassador and
former T&T cricket captain
Daren Ganga will give "seri-
ous consideration" to enter-
ing electoral politics if the
opportunity presents itself.
However, he hastened to add
that entering politics was a
"far-fetched" thought at this
point as his focus was on
helping young people.
In an interview with the
Sunday Guardian yesterday,
after the closing ceremony for
the Daren Ganga Foundation
cricket and football summer
camps at the Barrackpore East
Secondary School, Ganga
commented on reports that
had been circulating for several
weeks that he was a potential
candidate for the United
National Congress (UNC) in
the 2015 general elections.
He described the reports as
"all speculation" and said he
had not been approached by
any political party to contest
"If there are opportunities
in relation to what you are
talking about, obviously I will
give it serious consideration,
but I have not made any deci-
sions at all with regard to that
and I continue to serve young
people and sports," he said
Ganga, the executive chair-
man of the Daren Ganga
Foundation, expressed concern
over the growing number of
young people who were being
He said he was trying,
through his foundation, to
reach out to young people and
instill proper values including
"Every time stories like this
pop up in the media it is really,
really unfortunate. But your
sense of hope and your sense
of determination are only
strengthened and that is what
happens to me. I am even
more determined, when I see
instances like these to make a
positive difference," he said.
Ganga said his foundation
was limited in its resources
and could only operate camps
in the community of Barrack-
pore. However, the camps
were open to anyone in T&T
and continued to be "over-
Yesterday, 66 participants
graduated from the camps,
including 13 girls.
"It is our hope that these
young people become leaders
and pioneers in their own right
to carry on the work of the
foundation and to have a
domino effect throughout our
society," Ganga said.
West Indies cricketer and
world s number one T20
bowler Samuel Badree, who
gave the feature address at the
ceremony, urged the young
participants to use the knowl-
edge and training they received
at the camps in their daily
He told them that while it
was good to dream of becom-
ing the best cricketer or foot-
baller, they must not allow
their academics to suffer.
"You must have something
to fall back on," he advised.
Economist Dr Roger Hosein says
the Government needs to be more
prudent in its delivery of the Gov-
ernment Assistance for Tuition
Expenses (Gate) programme. He said
it should consider an income con-
tingent loan programme or a grad-
uate tax programme so students
repay the fees for their tertiary level
Hosein said tertiary level funding
must be approached differently in the
2014-2015 fiscal budget, which would
be presented by Finance Minister Larry
Howai on September 8.
While Gate has helped improve ter-
tiary level education (TLE), Hosein
said there was need for streamlining
of the programme "to ensure some
degree of alignment of free tertiary
level education to the longer term
structural needs of the economy."
In the last eight years, $4.5 billion
has been spent on Gate.
The figure jumped from $102.1 mil-
lion in 2004-2005 to $757.6 million
in 2012-2013, mainly due to an
increase in students enrolment,
"It is difficult to say that past gov-
ernments have pumped too much into
Gate. What I would say is that we
need to consider more sustainable
options to fund TLE without margin-
alizing students from lower income
Although Gate has increased the
number of tertiary level students, "It
did not dramatically improve the over-
all growth performance of the econ-
omy, after 2008 in particular, when
it was most needed," he said.
In addition, he said, Gate had not
as yet translated into a diversified pro-
duction base for the economy and
some sectors remained underserved.
"We seem to be still importing
nurses and doctors. However, this may
also be due to migration in part
because Gate is not linked strategically
to the development process but is
rather a universal approach to TLE.
Funding those areas that have peculiar
needs or needs that require a greater
degree of emphasis may be under-
served," he said
Hosein said his main concern was
that Gate was vertically inefficient.
"This means that some people get
more funding than they need. In the
case of T&T, some evidence of vertical
inefficiency is seen in the type of
households accessing Gate.
"It can be seen that income groups
earning $9,000 or more access Gate
funding at a higher percentage than
those in which the income group is
less than $9,000."
Of particular interest, Hosein said,
was the income group $17,000 to
$18,999, of which 7.9 per cent
accessed Gate funding, while only 0.5
per cent of the income group earning
less than $1,000 accessed Gate.
Hosein does not believe the Gov-
ernment should scrap Gate.
"No. It can t be that simplistic. I com-
mend Tertiary Education Minister Fazal
Karim for all the innovative changes he
has brought on stream so far.
"Tertiary level funding in my view
just has to be approached differently.
The word scrapped is too dramatic."
Hosein said the economy was at a
crossroad and "it s time to cut back
on the huge transfers and subsidy out-
lay that the State currently under-
A group of concerned evangelical
pastors and Full Gospel ministers say
the Constitution (Amendment) Bill,
which will be debated in the Senate
on Tuesday, carries built-in potential
for eroding the democracy of T&T.
Spokesman for the group, Apostle J
Vernon Duncan, said: "While we wel-
come the focus on reforming the Con-
stitution, it would be undemocratic to
attempt to hastily alter the process
where every citizen exercises his or her
rights to choose a particular party/can-
didate to govern our nation.
There must be wide and thorough
public consultation and ample oppor-
tunity for both Government and citizens
to examine, discuss, debate and finally
decide on the proposals in question.
The Constitution is too crucial to our
existence as a nation to do otherwise."
The group expressed particular con-
cern about the runoff ballot and the
They said contrary to what was
envisaged by the prime minister, the
runoff ballot had the potential to actu-
ally reduce the number of people
involved in the electoral process.
In the case of the recall provision,
Duncan said: "This proposal is rife with
the potential for political mischief, in
that two opposing members to the MP
for a given constituency may well seize
the opportunity, for no sound reason,
to seek and get the support of the
required ten per cent of the voters of
the constituency and successfully peti-
tion for a recall.
"Even if the MP is returned, what
prevents another two persons two or
three months later from repeating the
act, and so on and so on, plunging the
country into a state of perpetual insta-
bility? Can we afford this as a peo-
The group is calling for the Senate
debate to be delayed until "proper
structure and sufficient tightness" is
applied to the proposed measures to
avoid the possibilities of widespread
Former national cricketer Daren Ganga poses with participants in
his foundation's vacation camp during an awards ceremony at the
Barrackpore East Secondary School. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
to election bid
Economist: Time to
change Gate funding
Pastors opposed to reform bill
...Ganga commented on reports that had been circulating for several
weeks that he was a potential candidate for the United National
Congress (UNC) in the 2015 general elections. He described the reports
as "all speculation" and said he had not been approached by any political
party to contest the elections.
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