Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 2nd 2015 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Medical students from the University of the
West Indies, Mona campus, Jamaica, are facing
a quandary after their application for free tuition
was rejected by the Tertiary Education Ministry.
The students expected their fees would be paid
under the Government Assistance for Tuition
Expenses (Gate) programme. However, they are
now claiming that Government has back-tracked
on its promise to deliver free tertiary education to
all citizens with good academic standing.
Medical students up in arms over Gate funding
Former Magistrate Marcia Murray, whose
daughter Saraya is in Jamaica, said she was
disappointed that government was reneging
on its promise.
"They are opening so many hospitals
and health centres and bringing in workers
from abroad, yet they are not supporting
students who want to study medicine,"
Murray said. She explained that Saraya
got clearance on the Gate website on May
"Now Gate officials are telling me that
clearance verified does not mean approval
is granted for funding," Murray said.
She explained that her daughter got all
distinctions and deserved to benefit from
"As soon as she got Cape results, they
sent it to UWI, she got all distinctions
which she also got last year, so she was
qualified. When she got Gate clearance we
packed up her bags and headed to Jamaica.
When we reached there she and three
other girls were pulled aside by the Campus
admissions officials who said they got a
letter on August 18 from the Gate director
telling them that Gate will only be funding
40 students," Murray said.
"Most of the people on the list were
those who didn t get through last year,"
Saying Gate was supporting mediocrity
because people in other Faculties were
getting full funding, Murray said she
planned to send a pre-action protocol letter
on grounds of inequality of treatment. She
said more than 7 pupils are facing the same
predicament and some may have to drop
out of medical school if they cannot pay
the US$28,000 annual tuition fee.
Contacted yesterday line Minister Fazal
Karim said he had reports of the situation.
However, he directed all questions to Gate
director Theresa Davidson who said Saraya
was never given approval by Gate for
She said when the medical school was
opened in Mount Hope the Government
decided that it would no longer fund
students from Mona Campus in Jamaica
and Cave Hill campus in Barbados.
"In 2006 when they realised there was a
demand in medicine, the government went
to Mona and negotiated for 50 students to
be funded annually. The criteria would be a
scholarship arrangement based on grades.
It was funded under Gate but you applied
through the Public Administration ministry."
She said this arrangements did not work
well as less than 50 applied for
She said a pass list was created based on
merit and government took a decision to
provide 50 students with US$28,000
annually for five years.
Now that the San Fernando Teaching
Hospital is built, Davidson said the pass list
has been cut to 40.
"Mona is aware of this but they have
given out 92 acceptance letters. Gate
operates under a policy set by government
and Gate is following the procedure that is
set out by government as it relates to
Mona campus," Davidson added.
She also said clearance verified does not
mean Gate approval, adding that once all
documents are submitted, Gate will
approve funding on the basis of merit.
Members of the Police Service Social and
Welfare Association have issued a pre-action
letter to Power 102 FM Radio Talk Show Host
Garth Christopher and Power 102 for defama-
The statements made against the association s
general secretary Michael Seales, president Insp
Anand Ramesar, the association and the executive
members were on June 28 this year during the
radio programme "No Borders."
The letter, addressed to Christopher and Power
102 FM, asked for a full and unequivocal retraction
of all allegations made during the show.
Attorney for the executive of the association
Dexter Bailey is asking that the allegations not
be repeated, the payment of an agreed sum in
damages to his client to accurately reflect the
injury to their reputation, financial loss and distress
and the payment of his client s legal costs to date.
Bailey added that if the respondents failed to
comply within 14 days the association will initiate
legal proceedings against Christopher and the
Baily said the statements and allegations were
false, baseless, irresponsible and a calculated,
malicious attempt at character assassination.
It added that Seales has been the recipient of
numerous calls from his friends and other mem-
bers of the public who have been forced to question
the damning statements.
He said the commentary has caused his client
undue professional and personal humiliation and
distress which has brought the office of association
Police body suing
talk show host
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