Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yes-
terday ordered Health Minister Fuad Khan to stop
his plan to extend the period of internship for
graduating University of the West Indies, St
Augustine, medical students, from one year to
two, following a meeting with students at the
Diplomatic Centre, Port-of-Spain.
A release from the PM s office said Khan had
instead been asked to pursue broader and deeper
consultations with all stakeholders involved before
pressing ahead with any plan.
The PM said: "Following a meeting with stake-
holders affected by the proposal this morning, I
noted the legitimate concerns raised in the medical
profession in response to the proposal.
"While changes are necessary, it must be informed
by meaningful dialogue and consultation with all
interested parties, including the Faculty of Medical
Sciences, the Medical Professionals Association of
T&T (MPATT) and most importantly the students
"Students are enrolled to read for the Bachelor
of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree
on the basis that the period of internship would
be for one year.
"This is in fact what obtains in other campuses
of the University of the West Indies (Mona, Cave
Hill and Bahamas).
"They may therefore enjoy a legitimate expec-
tation and contractual entitlement to be allowed
to complete their qualification and training on this
Following a meeting with students and UWI lec-
turers last week, Khan had given the lecturers one
week to come up with proposals for how the process
should go forward.
This came despite the fact that students and lec-
turers had complained that there were no talks
prior to the announcement of its implementation
and that they felt it was being thrust on them.
Yesterday, the PM agreed with those sentiments,
saying: "A deeper conversation must take place to
facilitate a more meaningful and involved process
of dialogue and consultation on this sensitive matter
and allow for a report to be submitted to the Cab-
Thursday, July 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Life Sport auditors get more info from Gary...
On scepticism by Independent senator Helen
Drayton about a full audit report, or that it won't
be revealed, Griffith said the audit won't be
padded and he had placed security personnel to
accompany auditors on their rounds.
Saying he believed the results will be made
public since it was to ensure transparency and
accountability, Griffith said if there were charges
to be laid, or the report showed questionable
activities or financial mismanagement, it would
also be handed to the police.
On the backlash from his declaration on
Tuesday to remove certain elements from the Life
Sport, post-audit, he maintained if people were
involved in incompetence, mismanagement or
indiscipline, they would be removed.
AUDIT TO BE MADE PUBLIC
Approximately $90,000 in cash was
put into paper bags and given to one per-
son to distribute to 60 Life Sport partic-
ipants, National Security Minister Gary
Griffith said yesterday.
He was relating to Parliament reporters
facts he said he had about the programme
and which he had given to Finance Ministry
auditors now probing the programme.
Griffith has halted with immediate effect
all previous procedures that allowed such
payment to anyone involved in Life Sport.
Participants will have to get a bank account
to receive payments from now on.
He also said the name of the programme
should be changed after the audit "to signify
a new start, as an unfortunate stigma has
already been affiliated with the existing
Commenting on claims by People s
National Movement (PNM) senator Faris
Al-Rawi on Tuesday that a relative of the
Sport Ministry s permanent secretary had
been given a Life Sport catering contract
and other allegations, Griffith said he had
received similar information from sources
who felt uncomfortable about coming for-
ward. He said he met with auditors and
brought that to their attention.
He said: "It is blatant that we have irreg-
ularities in Life Sport. A blatant example
is a situation where funds were paid in cash
and the security officers (on the programme)
Griffith said funds for the 60 participants
in that programme --- $1,500 each and
totalling $90,000 --- were put into a paper
bag and given to one person to distribute.
He said the person would have signed to
say they received it.
"Are we still in an era when people don t
have a bank account?" he asked.
"I know this happened as a fact, as the
people actually involved in the process did
it and the auditors will meet with those
"But why wasn t a bank account used?
Paying people with cash is where you will
get the perception of ghost participants.
Things like that are what I am putting an
end to because those things, whether or
not corruption or incompetence or a com-
bination of both, I intend to weed out."
On whether the audit report might reach
the police, he said questionable activities
and financial mismanagement which should
not exist in these times --- such as having
paper bags of cash to distribute to partic-
ipants "on a street corner" --- showed that
people involved in the financial running of
Life Sport were either naive or possibly
involved in criminal activity.
Griffith said he intended to input the
necessary safeguards within the programme
to ensure greater accountability and trans-
parency, in line with the Finance Ministry s
stipulations, to ensure the elimination of
any illegal activities and irregularities that
may currently exist within Life Sport.
He said until the audit was completed,
all previous financial procedures that allowed
payment to anyone involved in Life Sport
had ceased with immediate effect and every
cent to be approved for any form of pay-
ment, including payment to participants,
must now come through the relevant
department of the National Security Min-
He added: "To ensure ghost gangs are
eliminated, if they do in fact currently exist
within the programme, a better system will
be implemented, with each participant hav-
ing to provide a bank account in order to
"This way, the days of dropping tens of
thousands of dollars in cash to one person
who would promise to pay the 60 partic-
ipants are over."
He said he was also informed certain
undesirable elements within the programme
had used intimidation tactics and bullying
of officials within Life Sport but, he said,
that was subject to further probe.
Asked about his relationship with Sport
Minster Anil Roberts, from whose portfolio
Life Sport was cut when the Prime Minister
ordered the audit, and who has described
Life Sport differently from Griffith, he com-
"I think we are all on the same page. We
want to ensure it continues in the right
way (though) it might not be perfect.
"I am fully aware there have been ques-
tionable activities in Life Sport, either
through corruption or incompetence or a
combination of both. You can t question
that. You would have to be naive to say it
Asked if he was saying Roberts was naive,
Griffith said: "I think he would say, Wait
till the audit comes out before making state-
ments but I say, I have facts to show there
have been questionable activities and I
intend to deal with it."
Minister Gary Griffith with wife Nicole Dyer Griffith and son Gary Griffith III outside Maria
Regina school, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain as they view his SEA result. The younger
passed for St Mary's College.
PM stops Fuad's
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