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UTT hints at staff cuts
The University of Trinidad and
Tobago (UTT), the country's only
indigenous university,has signalled
that employees will be sent home
because of financial constraints.
On Thursday memo to staff from
the university's Chairman, Ken Julien,
stated there will be a "re-organisation"
at the management level.
The memo, a copy of which was ob-
tained by Guardian Media, stated be-
cause of the reduced State subvention
for the period 2016/2017 and the need
for UTT to embark on cost efficiency
drive, the Board of Governors concluded
on its March 24 meeting that "further
steps are required to safeguard the uni-
Some of the steps include re-organ-
isation at the management level, salary
cuts and seeking additional recurrent
funding from the Government.
Julien told staff it was inevitable that
the ongoing negotiations would lead to
"But these are very difficult times
requiring difficult decisions and the
Board remain very empathetic, in dis-
charging its duties, to the challenging
plight of all staff of the University. In
this regard, an Employee Assistance
Programme is available to staff to ac-
cess," the memo stated. The measures
come even as UTT is about to embark
on a re-accreditation exercise scheduled
to begin in September.
UTT was originally set up because
as late as 2000 only 7 percent of the
country's population had accessed
higher education and it was meant to
be an alternative to the University of the
West Indies (UWI).
By 2010, UTT was accredited by the
Accreditation Council of T&T and there
now 13 campuses nationwide. The Uni-
versity has been on a cost cutting drive
since October last year.
The memo was yesterday recalled af-
ter Education Minister Anthony Garcia
got wind of it. He told CNC3 News that
talks are ongoing at the university with
regard to decisions to be made in light
of the economic situation and less re-
"I only became aware of that memo
today and therefore in discussing this
with the Vice Chairman, I have asked
that the memo be withdrawn pending
discussions with the university's man-
agement and the board. It is the policy
of this Government not to arbitrarily
severe any one from his work. There-
fore everything must be put in place to
ensure that there is security of tenure,"
he told CNC3.
Garcia also said that he had not seen
the memo that went out on Thursday
and asked for the memo to be withdrawn
so that all stakeholders in UTT can enter
into discussions on UTT's future.
Garcia admitted that UTT is facing
"We are experiencing some difficul-
ties in terms of finance but we will want
to put our heads together so that we
could come up with innovative means
whereby the University of Trinidad and
Tobago could operate without any major
This is not the first time that the issue
of job losses has come up as last No-
of the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union
(OWTU) called upon the Government
to say if workers will be sent home.
OWTU represents the majority bar-
gaining unit at UTT. The University of
the West Indies also recently com-
plained of financial setbacks because
Caribbean governments failed to inject
over US$105 m.
Roster mix-up blamed for no ultrasound service
Chief executive officer of
the North Central Regional
Health Authority (NCRHA)
Davlin Thomas yesterday
blamed poor planning of
the roster for the unavaila-
bility of ultrasound servic-
es at the Mt Hope Women's
Hospital on Thursday.
He said this was an one-off
situation and assured that the
problem would not reoccur
when the patients return to
the hospital for medical care
A report in yesterday's T&T
Guardian stated dozens of
pregnant women were denied
daily ultra sound scans at the
hospital and were advised to
seek the services at private
hospitals which cost between
$300 to $600. Thomas denied
the women were advised to
seek the service privately.
In a release issued by the
NCRHA yesterday, it stated
that patients at the Women's
Hospital receive ultrasound
services as part of their clin-
ic engagement. "Request for
ultrasounds are written by
the attending physicians on
behalf of their patients who
are then scheduled for the
All patients with prior ap-
pointments for ultrasound
services at Mt Hope Hospital
on Thursday received treat-
ment," the release stated.
Between April and May,
991 patients ultrasound were
"We experienced an anom-
aly only on Thursday. This
was not an on-going problem
He said emergency patients
who showed up at the hos-
pital for medical care were
transferred to nearby Eric
Williams Medical Sciences
Complex (EWMSC), while
elective patients were given
new appointment dates to
return this month.
At no time, he said the pa-
tients were sent or referred
to private hospitals for ultra
sound scans. Thomas has
been requested to submit a
report to the NCRHA
chairman Steve De Las about Thursday's
Prof Ken Julien
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