Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 6th 2017 Contents A8 news
guardian.co.tt Monday, February 6, 2017
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for FEBRUARY 03RD, 2017
19 sex allegations
The Education Ministry can he held "vicari-
ously responsible"before the courts for students
injured on the school compound.
Chief Executive Officer of the Education Ministry
Harrrilal Seecharan revealed this when he appeared
before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. He
agreed with San Fernando East MP Randall Mitchell
who asked the question in the context of recent con-
cerns about bullying.
Seecharan said he was unaware of any incident where
the ministry was actually taken before the courts. "But
there are instances where students may have been in-
jured in school and through our insurance the ministry
would have paid compensation in that regard," he said.
Commenting on inappropriate behaviour by teach-
ers at school, he said 117 teachers are currently before
the Teaching Service Commission to answer a range of
offences, including 19 allegations of sexual acts from
improper touching, sending improper text messages,
hugging to having sex with a child.
Seecharan said there is a disciplinary process which
includes an investigation following which the commis-
sion decides on the process for discipline. On recent
allegations of physical and sexual abuse at the School
for the Blind, Seecharan said the ministry is reviewing
whether it was in the best interest of the students to
occupy that facility.
The committee also heard of serious staff shortages in
critical areas like the Children's Authority and the need
for more guidance counsellors at schools. The Minis-
try's Student Support Service Division, which comprise
about 500 people including guidance counsellors and
social workers, has been faced with challenges as many
employees are on contract and there is a high rate of
turn over of staff. Seecharan admitted that this has
resulted in data not being properly collated, or cases
In 2014 statistics from the Education Ministry
showed there were 99 cases of sexual abuse in primary
and secondary schools.
Education Ministry CEO:
Gambling Bill sent to JSC
It will be difficult to run T&T on a budgeted oil
price of US$50, Finance Minister Colm Imbert
said in response to a comment by Opposition
MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie during Friday's
House of Representatives debate on the Gam-
bling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill, 2016.
Tewarie had asked Imbert if it was unreasonable for
T&T to manage its business on the basis of a US$50
oil price and a US$3 gas price.
The minister explained that when gas is sold above
US$50 a barrel T&T begins to receive supplemental
petroleum tax (SPT). He said in a good year T&T can
receive as much as $4 billon from SPT and the Board
of Inland Revenue collected $200 million in SPT last
month, the first time in a very long time such amounts
of the tax had been received. He said this was a clear
indication of how important the tax and the US$50
threshold is for T&T.
Imbert said passage of the bill is crit-
ical as the country had already been
downgraded by the Caribbean Finan-
cial Action Task Force for not regulating
its gambling and gaming industry. He
said there are approximately 200 pri-
vate members clubs operating casino
style activities and 200,000 amusement
gaming machines operating in some
4,000 bars and recreational pubs across
Imbert described the industry as
"completely unregulated and completely
out of control and we need to do some-
thing about it."
He said T&T is on an enhanced com-
pliance list due "in no small measure to
the fact that we have an unregulated $12
billion gaming sector in this country."
The bill was referred to a Joint Se-
lect Committee for deliberations and
to report to Parliament by March 17.
Committee members from the House
of Representatives are Imbert, Attor-
ney General Faris Al-Rawi, Minister in
the Office of the Prime Minister Stu-
art Young, La Brea MP Nicole Ollivere
and Opposition MPs Ganga Singh and
Rudranath Indarsingh. Senate members
have not yet been named.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, left, speaks with
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and the
Office of the Attorney General Stuart Young during
last Friday's sitting of Parliament. At right is
Attorney General Faris Al Rawi PHOTO: SHIRLEY
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