Sunday, January 21, 2018

'$7.2 billion budget and they cannot afford tea service?'

...MP knocks Education Minister

The Ministry of Education Tower in Port of Spain.

Former Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh says the move by Education Minister Anthony Garcia, to stop the beverage service during Ministry meetings, is “shameful and unprecedented.”

In a release, the Caroni East Member of Parliament stated the lack of funding for the tea service was a stunning revelation given that the Minister is presiding over a $7.2 billion annual budget.

Garcia, earlier this week, declined giving further information on the internal memo saying that the memo was not intended for the public.

The notice advised staff that the Ministry will not be able to provide the tea service because, “at present, we do not have supplies to offer hot/cold beverages and bottled water at meetings.”

"A jug of water and glasses can be provided upon request when scheduling your meeting" the memo stated.

Gopeesingh said there was a decline in the administration within the Ministry and called for Garcia's removal.

“The shameful and unprecedented decline in the administration of this crucial ministry is also exhibited in the fact that some schools remained closed at the start of the school term.

Despite Mr. Garcia's firm assurances, classes were suspended for such matters as the lack of essential repairs, pigeon droppings and non-functioning of air conditioning and other facilities.

At several schools, there are critical shortages of cleaning materials, basic classroom needs, toiletries and other vital day-to-day requirements,” he said.

Gopeesingh further added that under Garcia, there has been the dismantling of school curricula, absence of construction of new schools, shutdown of homework centres, scrapping of the allocation of computer laptops and withdrawal of the services of several professionals.

He said there are further issues with the School Feeding programme, the student transport service and other services provides who are owed large sums of money.