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UTT president: We do not condone racism

By \\\\\ Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

THE University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) does not encourage any discrimination based on race and will work to ensure that matters involving a lecturer who claimed victimisation based on race, are resolved.

This is according to UTT’s president, Prof Dyer Narinesingh.

On Wednesday, Burton Baptiste, a full-time instructor II, protested outside two UTT campuses at Pt Lisas and San Fernando saying he has been unjustly demoted from his rightful position as a research associate. He claimed persons of East Indian descent were promoted to higher levels and received greater salaries than him, although they were not qualified.

Burton, who has a Master’s degree in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, teaches students pursuing a certificate in applied engineering.

He said: “They (UTT) have no explanation for any of the actions that have been taken against me. I have been given enough of a run around. I have been given a letter by the vice president Human Resources promising to address all my concerns but to be honest it seems as though everything is just a bunch of talk and I am fed up of the talk. I want to see action.”

Narinesingh, told the Express yesterday: “This matter, which has its genesis since 2007, is before the EOC (Equal Opportunity Commission) and as such I would prefer not to comment at this stage. I can assure you that management will work with all parties to resolve the matter in the best interest of all. UTT as a policy does not condone any form of racial discrimination.”

Baptiste, who began his series of protests in front UTT’s campus in Scarborough, Tobago said he will continue to protest until his concerns were addressed. Baptise is originally from Tobago but now resides in Tunapuna. On Thursday, he protested outside the John Donaldson campus in Port of Spain. Yesterday, he staged his one-man protest outside the Chaguanas campus in Charlieville.

He said he received a call from Narinesingh and was expected to have a meeting with him on Monday at the O’Meara campus. Baptiste was also contacted by the chief academic administrator’s secretary regarding the matter.
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