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Tertiary Education and Skills
Training Minister Fazal Karim yes-
terday told tertiary education stu-
dents that they can breathe easy,
as the Government Assistance for
Tuition Expenses (Gate) is here to
He said speculation about the
shut-down of the programme
because of the high cost to taxpayers
was the talk of the "silly season."
At the opening of the National
Energy Skill Centre in Palo Seco,
Karim said Government s intention
is to continue the expansion of the
programme to meet the demands
of the labour market.
"The Government Assistance for
Tuition Expenses has been secured
by the People s Partnership Gov-
ernment and has been expanded,
and will continue be to be secured
and expand. The Gate programme
stays, don t let anyone tell you it is
under threat," he said.
"What we are seeking to do is
advise our students to align what
they are studying with what the
labour market requires. We don t
want graduate gluts of the discour-
aged graduates who at the end of
their period of studying, they come
out and ask, Why can t I get a
There were also stern words for
On-the Job Trainees (OJT), as Karim
told them the programme was not
a full time job. He said after the
two-year internship, many people
would ask for an extension or a job.
He said the programme was
designed to help graduates gain
work experience that would
enhance their portfolio.
La Brea MP Fitzgerald Jeffrey
applauded the opening of the sec-
ond NESC in his constituency, say-
ing that the welding, pipefitting
and fabricating programmes being
offered would benefit the man-
power needs of the area.
Plans are in the making the con-
struction of US$850 million
dimethyl ether (DME) plant in La
Brea and a US$750 million port.
Labidco Port Services Ltd is also
expected to begin expansion work
on its transshipment port.
Saying that the unemployment
rate in La Brea was already unac-
ceptable, Jeffrey called on Karim to
start evening classes for adults,
especially those involved in the
Unemployment Relief Programme
(URP) and the Community-Based
Environmental Protection and
Enhancement Programme (Cepep).
In addition, he said campuses for
the T&T Hospitality and Tourism
Institute (TTHTI), University of
T&T (UTT) and a school dedicated
to drilling should be built between
La Brea and Point Fortin.
Promising to give favourable
attention to the recommendations,
Karim charged Jeffrey with the task
of finding out who would be inter-
ested in technical vocational stud-
ies.In promising better times for La
Brea, he aimed political picong at
Jeffrey, saying: "I listened to my
friend and colleague, MP Jeffrey,
and I want to tell you all that all of
his desires are noble desires. There
is only one pity that I have, that
while he was there in the ministry
as minister in the Ministry of Sci-
ence Technology and Tertiary Edu-
cation...that he would have been
able to make all of this possible.
But don t worry, what you didn t
do I will help you do."
The teenage mother who exposed
her breasts during San Fernando J Ou-
vert celebrations says she will be keep-
ing away from Carnival from now on.
The mother of two, who recently
turned 18, was reprimanded and dis-
charged yesterday by San Fernando Sixth
Court Magistrate Lisa Ramsumair-
She had pleaded guilty to a charge of
wilfully and obscenely exposing herself
in public, but sentence was deferred
pending a probation officer s report.
Saying there was no need to record
a conviction against her yesterday, how-
ever, Ramsumair-Hinds said she was
satisfied that the teenager was heeding
her advice to be independent, respectful
"I learnt a lot. I learnt how to keep
my body appropriate," the teenager told
the magistrate yesterday.
When she came before the court she
was 17, unemployed, in a common-law
relationship and did not even have an
She told the court then she was burnt
as a child during a fire at her home. She
also said she never went to secondary
school because she got pregnant after
sitting the Secondary Entrance Assess-
ment (SEA) examination and has a son,
who will celebrate his fourth birthday
next month, and a daughter who turns
two in November.
So moved was the magistrate by her
story then, that she asked the media
not to name the teenager.
Yesterday, because of the magistrate s
intervention, the teenager said she had
rekindled her relationship with her
mother, with whom she is now living.
She said she had also obtained an ID
card and will be signing up to learn a
trade, either at Youth Training and
Employment Partnership Programme
(Ytepp) or Metal Industries Compnay
Ltd (MIC). In addition, she is also con-
sidering taking part-time classes in
mathematics and other subjects.
When the magistrate mentioned Car-
nival to her, she said: "I not studying
The magistrate explained that she
was not discouraging her from partic-
ipating in Carnival festivities, but urged,
"When in public, keep your body appro-
She told the girl the way she dresses,
speaks and even stands will determine
the way people regard her. She said the
teen had to set an example for her
daughter by her actions and nothing
was wrong with wanting to be a house-
wife, but she should not be completely
dependent on someone else.
Wishing her all the best, Ramsumair-
Hinds said: "Since you have been before
this court I have seen you develop. You
have a certain degree of confidence."
Despite how difficult things might
seem, the magistrate said the teen should
continue to push forward.
The teenager was represented by
attorney Ainsley Lucky.
Magistrate's intervention makes difference
Gate here to stay---Karim
Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim, left, along with La Brea Mp Fitzgerald Jeffrey and Chairman of
National Energy and Skills Centre (NESC) Feeroz Khan look on as NESC student Temeka Lewis surfs the
Internet at the Palo Seco NESC campus which was formally opened yesterday . PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Magistrate Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds
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