Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 11th 2015 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Monday, May 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 08TH MAY, 2015
Concessionaires at the University of the
West Indies (UWI) St Augustine campus
are upset over a directive from the univer-
sity s Commercialisation Office over the
sale of a UWI-branded bottled water, which
is expected to come on full stream this
The directive, the concessionaires say, will
force them to remove all other current brands
of bottled water they sell to their clientele
and replace them with the UWI-branded
Speaking with the T&T Guardian, one
affected concessionaire, who wished not to
be identified for fair of being victimised, was
shocked at the demand, and said that stu-
dents will not be denied their rights as con-
sumers to choose their "usual" brand of water
"From what I know, that particular brand
of water is not popular among students and
it will be unfair for them to be buying that
water under the UWI brand," the business-
The Guardian understands that the com-
pany which previously had the contract to
provide UWI-branded water was SM Jaleel
and Company Limited, which is located in
Otaheite, South Oropouche.
A memorandum of understanding was
signed between UWI and SM Jaleel on March
20, 2013 for the provision of that water to
concessionaires at the St Augustine Campus.
Present at that function from SM Jaleel were
general manager, Head of Sales and Distri-
bution Roger Bell and brand manager for
Oasis Water Christopher Beepath.
The Oasis/UWI-branded water went on
the shelves at UWI in February last year and
was sold side by side with other brands of
However, a new company, Crystal Water
Limited, has been contracted to provide the
water and under the new arrangement, con-
cessionaires will allegedly only be allowed to
sell the UWI-branded water provided by the
"Now, suddenly they want it to be the
only water selling. Why? This must be so
unfair to the students," the concessionaire
The concessionaire explained that they
have been given a three-week period to
deplete their current stock and to re-stock
with the UWI-branded water by May 18.
The instructions were given via a memo
issued by UWI s Commercialisation Office
on April 23, 2015.
The UWI-branded water became available
on Friday and will be centrally managed by
the university. Concessionaires were asked
to liaise directly with Central Stores to place
orders for bottled water. All orders must
specify the sizes, quantities and requested
delivery dates. The bottled water sizes avail-
able are 350 ml and 650 ml at $18.85 and
$32 per case respectively.
The concessionaire said they generally had
no problem selling the UWI-branded water
but believe they should be allowed to sell
other brands alongside it, since all consumers
like freedom of choice.
He added that the move comes as tenants
rental fees were also being increased. Some
of the concessionaires, the T&T Guardian
understands, now have to pay either double
or three times the amount they were paying,
some at over $20,000 a month in rent.
Contacted on the issue, Minister of Tertiary
Education and Skills Training, Fazal Karim,
said that he had introduced the concept of
university-branded water after his visit to
the National University of Singapore.
"I thought it was a good way from the
University to earn some income," he said.
However, when asked if he was aware that
the original contract with Oasis was stopped
and that there was a new water company
involved, Karim claimed he was not.
Asked if he was aware that the new agree-
ment with the new company is for the uni-
versity to sell the branded water only, Karim
also said he was not aware and directed those
questions to UWI Pro Vice Chancellor and
St Augustine Campus Principal Professor
When contacted Sankat re-directed the
T&T Guardian to UWI s Director of Insti-
tutional Advancement, Sharan Singh.
Singh explained that the contract between
SM Jaleel and UWI had come to an end and
they were currently exploring other options.
He claimed that no contract had yet been
signed with a new company and that they
had the option to renew with SM Jaleel,
taking into consideration that a UWI Campus
will be opened soon in South.
Asked about whether there were not con-
cerns about variety and quality of the product
involved, Singh assured that they would not
jeopardise consumers health or the quality
He said under the current arrangement
the university will also be able to use the
labels on the branded water to carry per-
sonalised messages to the student body,
including study tips around examinations.
President of the Students Guild at UWI, Makesi
Peters, said he was shocked at the monopoly deal
between the University and a new water company for
the sale of UWI-branded water.
He said it was unfair to take away the preference
for students and claimed that the student body had
not yet been informed about this latest move.
Peters said he would now seek a meeting with the
respective UWI officials on the matter and direct his
public relations officer to proceed with informing the
students about it as well.
President of the University of the West Indies St Augustine's Student Guild Council
Makesi Peters purchases a bottled water from a Student Activity Centre concessionaire
last week. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
Campus to sell only
On Wednesday 20 March, 2013 Prof Sankat, in
his welcome remarks, said the initiative began
when UWI's former Business Development
Manager, who is currently the Minister of Tertiary
Education and Skills Training (TEST), Fazal Karim,
visited the National University of Singapore.
Sankat added that after seeing the National
University of Singapore branded water, he (Karim)
immediately envisioned the selling of UWI-branded
water at UWI, St. Augustine Campus, and the
benefits that it could bring to our university.
Sankat further explained that the initiative
would bring out the entrepreneurial side of the
campus and university, which he said is directly
aligned with the university's strategic plan 2012--
2017. This plan, Sankat added, calls for an
increased entrepreneurial drive through
partnerships with the private sector.
"It is therefore a time for us at the UWI to
leverage our resources, our innovative capacity and
our creativity to build an 'enterprising academy,'"
PROJECT ON STREAM
Contacted last week, Sales Director at Crystal
Water Limited, Ann Marie Charles-Brewster,
confirmed that a contract was signed between
them and the university, adding that the project
was already on stream.
Charles-Brewster, however, said she could not
comment further as she was about to go into a
meeting. She suggested that an email be sent to
her with further questions. But after the email
was sent, she responded by saying: "I am unable
to respond at this time, the University will have to
make an official statement. Their communications
department will be in contact with you to initiate
Up to yesterday, the T&T Guardian had not
received that statement.
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