Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 18th 2016 Contents A5
Monday, July 18, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
There could be a high drop out
rate of university students come
the start of the new semester in
This was the response yesterday
of secretary of the Students Guild
of the University of the West
Indies s St Augustine campus,
Nicolai Edwards, to recommenda-
tions of a Cabinet-appointed task
force mandated to investigate the
Government Assistance for Tuition
Expenses (GATE) programme.
"Thousands of tertiary level stu-
dents have now entered panic
mode, and rightfully so, due to the
recommendations of the GATE task
force," Edwards said in a release
after a media report highlighted
the task force s recommendations.
"The general feeling is that while
the GATE programme has been
due for a re-evaluation for some
time now, the approach taken has
been less than fair. The recom-
mendations put forth by the task
force, if implemented, will lead to
a high dropout rate come Septem-
ber 2016, as students would not
have been given sufficient time to
prepare for the changes."
Conceding there was undeniable
wastage and breaches in the pro-
gramme, Edwards said hardwork-
ing, dedicated and vulnerable stu-
dents should not be disenfranchised
as a result. He said any decision
made by Cabinet concerning GATE
should become effective September
2017 and students already enrolled
in a GATE-funded programme
should be able to complete their
course of study "without the fear
of having to pay their way."
Edwards, who is currently
attending a Commonwealth Youth
Leadership Workshop in London,
said he posted his response on
social media and it was being wide-
ly accepted by young people.
"While we understand these are
mere recommendations from the
task force which can be accepted
or denied by the Cabinet, it would
be remiss of us as young people
benefitting from GATE not to share
our thoughts for the Government
to also consider," he said.
He claimed tertiary level students
were not adequately represented
on the task force and there was
insufficient consultation with them.
He said only one place on the 16-
member task force was allocated
a student representative, guild pres-
ident Makesi Peters, who could not
provide adequate representation
since there was not enough con-
sultation with the student body in
T&T and across the region.
Guild president Peters could not
be reached for a comment yester-
But on the Students Guild Face-
book page, there were mixed
Rosanna Lewis, commenting on
the GATE affair, said some miti-
gation of senseless funding has to
"Every campus now has a med-
ical faculty and its own law faculty.
Why would a country continue to
fund your studies overseas when
it is now being offered in
Trinidad?" Lewis asked.
"Also, it is difficult to provide
funding for students who cannot
maintain a standard Grade Point
Average and who continue to fail.
Some mitigation has to be done to
prevent this from happening and
some repayment system has to be
According to te media report,
which carried part of the leaked
task force report, undergraduates
who previously got 100 per cent
funding from the government, will
now have to pay one-third of their
tuition fees for their tertiary edu-
cation, students over 50 will no
longer qualify for assistance while
those who want to pursue post
graduate studies will get no funding
this year. Further, tertiary education
institutions that are non-credited
will no longer be receiving funding
and there will be a reintroduction
of a means test from August 16 for
only students 25 and under.
Education Minister Anthony
Garcia said yesterday that he was
very concerned about the leaking
of the confidential report from the
task force mandated to investigate
the GATE programme.
However, he called on tertiary
level students not to panic, saying
the recommendations are still
under deliberation by Cabinet.
Contacted for a response to rec-
ommendations of major cuts in
the programme, Garcia said he
could not comment until Cabinet
pronounces on them within the
next two weeks.
However, he said, "This is sup-
posed to be a document in the
hands of Cabinet alone. I am
becoming more and more con-
cerned about leaks. I don t know
how it was leaked and who was
behind it, but I will launch my own
investigation when I go to my office
Reminded of the Government s
earlier pronouncements about a
review of GATE, he said, "Yes, we
said we would review the pro-
gramme. We recognised there was
a lot of wastage in it."
He said it was based on this and
the declining state of the economy
that Government decided to
appoint a task force with a mandate
to conduct a comprehensive review
of the programme.
Panic over GATE cut recommendations
An early morning accident
claimed the lives of two people
and left one hospitalised in crit-
ical condition here yesterday.
Police said Obinna Daniel, 16
and Aaron George 20, died after
the vehicle they were travelling in
was involved in a collision with
another vehicle near the Shade
Night Club in Bon Accord around
Jonathan Caraballo, 20, was
fighting for his life at the Port-
of-Spain General Hospital last
night. Daniel was a student of the
Mason Hall High School.
The T&T Guardian understands
that two vehicles were travelling
east along the Milford Road when
one of them overtook and ran into
a vehicle heading in the opposite
direction, in which Daniel, George
and Caraballo were occupants.
Daniel and George died immedi-
ately, while Caraballo was later
airlifted to Trinidad for further
treatment.Investigations are con-
Members of the Belmont Freetown Cultural Arts perform in the French-
influenced category during the Prime Minister's Best Village Trophy
Competition semi-final at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, on Saturday.
PHOTO: EDISON BOODOOSINGH
2 die in Tobago crash
Aaron George, 20.
Obinna Daniel, 16.
FREETOWN AT BEST VILLAGE
A mentally challenged teenager has
given birth for her grandfather, who
has now been charged for buggery and
incest after hiding from police for over
The 65-year-old grandfather was
remanded in custody by a Chaguanas
magistrate after appearing on the charges
last Thursday. He will appear before a
magistrate in the San Fernando Magis-
trates Court today.
The charges stemmed from an incident
where the man allegedly had sex with
his then 15-year-old female relative on
numerous occasions at her south home.
The girl is also said to be mentally chal-
After the teenager got pregnant her
parents questioned her and she told them
her grandfather had had sex with her.
She also told them he buggered her. The
girl s parents made a report to the police
in January 2015 and she gave birth one
month after, in February.
Police said the incidents took place
during the period 2013 and 2014.
After the report was made to the
police, the grandfather went into hid-
ing.Last week Monday, however, officers
from the Central Division Task Force
received information on where he was
living. The officers went to an apartment
located at Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain,
where they arrested the man.
He was taken to the Task Force office
at the Chaguanas Police Station where
he was interrogated and eventually admit-
ted to the crimes. He was charged by
The grandfather appeared before
Chaguanas First Court Magistrate Sharon
Gibson, who read the charges before
transferring the matter.
Man charged after getting
granddaughter, 15, pregnant
Links Archive July 17th 2016 July 19th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page