MASSIVE FIRING AT UTT BEGINS: UTT lecturers dismissed amidst Imbert’s bright forecast

Submitted by Fatimah Mohammed

About 40 lecturers from the Centre for Education Programmes at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) have been marked to be dismissed.

Eleven of them from the Corinth and Valsayn Campuses have already received their dismissal letter on Friday11th May 2018.

This dismissal came in the wake of Finance Minister Colm Imbert’s boast that the economy is turning around. In his mid-term budget review in Parliament on Thursday, Imbert sang the words of Johnny Nash, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” What is actually gone is the dismissal of lectures at UTT.

Minister Imbert boasted in the mid-term budget review that the economy is turning around, revenue collection is up, the energy sector is booming and the non-oil sector is also growing. Most of the population however have not seen any tangible evidence of that turn around.

Those UTT lecturers whose services have been terminated in the first wave of firings so far are Rudrunath Singh, Omar Maraj, Aarti Persad, Balmatee Sukha, Kumar Mahabir, Solomon Ragnathsingh, Amanda Rambaran-Sookraj, Rhonda Dookwah, Carol La Chapelle, Joseph Sanchez and Patricia Bascombe-Fletcher.

The Head of the Centre, Dr Judy Rocke, distributed the termination letters at the Valsayn Campus at 2:30 p.m.  She disclosed that the decision was taken as part of a restructuring exercise and that the dismissed lecturers were sent home because of “redundancy.” Interestingly the termination letters were delivered almost in the middle of the semester when there are four (4) more teaching weeks. UTT has given the dismissed lecturers one week to vacate the premises

At the meeting, Rocke revealed that the first round of dismissals was based on lecturers who taught students who were graduating to teach at secondary schools. However, the lecturers believed that this criteria was contradictory and arbitrary because some of the secondary school specialisation lecturers were not dismissed. Moreover, some lecturers who do not teach that specialisation were sent home yesterday. Rocke also disclosed that she kept some of these specialisation lecturers because they were close to the retirement age of 70.

As a means of cutting cost, it was suggested that UTT should dissolve some of its programmes such as Carnival Studies, Criminology and Marine Sciences which are already being offered by UWI. Moreover, the appointment of the president, Professor Sarim N. Al-Zubaidy, should be revoked. He is a foreigner from the Middle East who is reported to be paid TT$240,000 per month in US currency.

The sacked lecturers intend to meet with attorney Anand Ramlogan soon to take this matter to court. They want clarification on two issues: (1) what criteria was used for dismissal, and (2) was this criteria used across the board.

34 comments

  • David

    Is MAM setting us up for another play for oil & gas resources in the ocean?

    This issue came up during the 2008 elections and was subsequently rebuffed by David Thompson. At the time he said ‘there was no oil’.

    Another blogger has drawn our attention to a 2015 article in the ‘Nation’ about a bidder seeking an allocation.

    We ask this in light of the fact that T&T as ‘cursed’ as it is, was, with the presence of petroleum, it still finds itself in economic troubles, as unending.

    That this economic play is on the cards is one possible way of mekking sense of the promises being made, the presence of the Nigerian oil man, as campaign funder, etc

    We are however surprised that the DLP continued with this project and were not able to bring it to fruition after 10 years.

    What is your reading?

    Like

  • @Pacha

    This is the last mouthing on the subject from the minister responsible.

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/144636/exploration-offshore-petroleum-resources-start-soon

    One senses that this has not been a priority of government who seems more focus on building a renewable energy sector.

    Like

  • David

    If this has the potential advertised, why the slothfulness by the DLP?

    We think we are starting to understand what the drivers are, of BLP/MAM policies.

    Like

  • @Pacha

    Bear in mind Liz had a hand it the formulation and what is her post grad training.

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    Enquiring minds would ask, as few as they are locally AND GLOBALLY, why, in the face of the Renewable Energy evolution, would any government, particularly one involved in selling the pristine eaters of Barbados in Tourism, seek to explore oil exploration offshore?

    And the answer is SHORT TERM FOREX FROM DRILLING RIGHTS!

    De ole man must admit I ent too bright bout dese governmental initiatives doah…..

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    Waters not eaters

    Like

  • PIECE

    Not so fast, government is highly unlikely to get more than 2%, maybe 3% royalties

    And yes there would be significant risks of oil spills and pollution of the coastal arears, other islands as well. And there could be massive losses, to oil firms, and government itself.

    Then the government would not have capacities to deal with accidents on the water, fires etc

    Any number of risks imaginable.

    If this is the central aim of Mugabe, she should let the people know. Let this issue be interrogated now. Not have us sleep walk into a project with risks outside the norm.

    We estimate government would be unlikely to see any royalties for at least two to three years. That’s medium term, we still need a short term fix – maybe the IMF?

    There is however no doubt that we need the money. We have never been satisfied with the level of royalties paid by the oil majors

    And critical judgements have to be made, with all the risks, whether it’s worth it. Sometimes it may be better to leave the oil where it is, especially when in deep water.

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ Pachamama

    Royalties hopefully do not DO NOT constitute the only source of revenues OR we are badworded.

    Say it ain’t so and that there would be set up fees for the import and installation of the equipment etc

    You see why de ole man does stay way from these intellectual topics??

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Pieceuhderockyeahright May 13, 2018 8:44 AM
    “Enquiring minds would ask, as few as they are locally AND GLOBALLY, why, in the face of the Renewable Energy evolution, would any government, particularly one involved in selling the pristine eaters [waters] of Barbados in Tourism, seek to explore oil exploration offshore?”

    And therein ‘lies’ the obvious paradox of this policy.

    How can you promote and extol the benefits of alternative energy to enhance a environmentally sound country while wanting to live lavishly in a world involving the drilling and burning of fossil fuels?

    To whom would you be selling this oil bonanza if not the same people who are actively weaning themselves off the same fossil fuels?

    The government has been exploring (in talk and on paper only) such offshore drilling possibilities since the early 1980’s when the Division of Energy headed by Clyde Griffith was established in the Ministry of Finance & Planning during the Tom Adams Administration.

    The major reason why such a programme has never seen the light of day is purely because of its economics.

    The risks of drilling offshore Barbados and recovering very uncertain quantities of heavy crude are too costly when compared to the price of oil on the market. Even the cost of recovering, transporting to overseas refineries the little crude extracted onshore (from the land) is prohibitively expensive.

    Moreover, putting the production of crude oil and gas in the same environmental bed as tourism is certainly a clear case of mixing oil with water.

    Which investor(s) in the oil exploration business would take such high financial risks when oil is awash on the international markets?

    Who would ‘pump’ millions in the sea in an attempt to recover very uncertain quantities of poor quality heavy hydrocarbons when Venezuela and Trinidad still have loads of reserves and Guyana (Cuba could soon get into the act) about to come on stream?

    Like

  • The Miller

    Then how else is MAM to pay for all these manifesto promises

    She must have something up her sleeve, no?

    Like

  • ””Which investor(s) in the oil exploration business would take such high financial risks when oil is awash on the international markets?
    Who would ‘pump’ millions in the sea in an attempt to recover very uncertain quantities of poor quality heavy hydrocarbons when Venezuela and Trinidad still have loads of reserves and Guyana (Cuba could soon get into the act) about to come on stream?”’

    The Miller

    There are any number of investors available. Not only for the O&G but all the financial derivatives connected thereto.

    You say it will cost millions, we say billions – for the drilling alone

    Furthermore, if they are saying that they have 50 billion barrels in place. We estimate that only a third would be recoverable.

    Oil and gas does not spoil and even if held until sale represents an asset on government’s books.

    There are many countries which seem to mix tourism and oil and gas without problems, although very high risks are always present.

    Lastly, we would prefer if this option was not exercised but MAM maybe thinking that desperate times require such measures.

    Like

  • Exactly, Guyana is the new Saudi Arabia of the Caribbean from 2020 on. Even today, it takes a few days in Guyana to fix a pothole.

    And Barbados? What is the Barbadian elite doing to fix a pothole? Look at this:
    Year 1: First, they set up a commission on potholes where every member (judges, QCs, politicians, professors, pastors and so on) receives an allowance and a new Mercedes.
    Year 5: Second, after years of endless talk they decide to sign a contract with a so-called white donor, a well-known construction magnate, for many millions.
    Year 6: Third, a crooked lawyer, best a renowned QC, prepares the contract for a high fee and some kick-back.
    Year 10: Fourth, the commission figures out that Barbados is out of forex for the next 10 years and everything needs to be postponed.

    Like

  • No wonder the roads in the St. Thomas areas under the representative Rolerick (drick) Hinds, never got fixed.

    The roads in St. John and other parishes are deplorable, not one fixed in 10 years, but all these thieves, including the disgusting QC/lawyers have million dollar bank accounts.

    They are all toxic and repulsive, a bunch of low rate thieves robbing the treasury with minorities.

    Like

  • @Pacha

    What is Miller saying? The oil company that purchased the oil strips will have to sink the funds to explore the area they have the interest not so?

    Like

  • Just saw some comments on this Imbert/Dukharan fight and fiasco, where of course Trinis not being able to hold back, accused all of the ministers/politicians/economists of having “artificial education.”

    not unlike us calling them all miseducated for years now..

    .people have awoken/are awaking to the frauds and liars that are leaders who misrepresent the people..

    Like

  • David

    True. Under no circumstances would the government have to pay any of the exploration costs.

    Unless, they would want to go full-fledged into the commercial oil business. This is highly unlikely.

    Why else would government accept a mere pittance of 2 or 3 percent, as royalties, if it had to contribute to project costs.

    Once the geological and other studies are done, including your much favoured environmental impact study, oilfields are mapped and based on these mappings licenses for defined blocks are granted, bidded for, even exchanged etc.

    If Barbados is going to be dealing with the IMF. The IMF may want to direct them towards American oil companies. The geo-politics of oil.This comes with the territory. It maybe part of the IMF deal.

    Like

  • Well Well

    What have we been telling you

    The universal guillotine has become an indispensable instrument for social transformation.

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    But back to the substantive topic of the UTT firings

    It would appear like lecturers in the regional universities believe that their jobs are sacrosanct and that once appointed they have a job for life

    I have teifed the following remarks from the internet to submit this thought for your August consideration as it relates to our regional tertiary institutions and the absolute absence of any research output rather no “net zero revenue generating R&D centres” in any of our 3 vaunted UWI faculties

    The article follows

    Innovation and R&D Gujarat Scenario:

    OverviewSource: KPMG

    Analysis•Gujarat accounted for over 10% of the total R&D spending of India in 2010-11•

    The state has attracted maximum foreign technology transfer agreements from 1991 to 2011, giving further boost to research and development•

    The state has over 35 R&D and specialized institutions, focusing on applied research for major manufacturing sectors including pharmaceuticals & biotechnology, chemicals & petrochemicals, auto & engineering, renewable energy, etc

    Keysectors–Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology.

    The state has 40% of the Contract Research Organizations in the country.

    Key R&D segments include clinical research, genetic engineering, drug research and development”

    Pachamama you see where de ole man coming from?

    Here is serious third world countries involved in national FOREX generating activities that justify the ridiculous UTT salaries of leechers

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ The Honourable Blogmaster – another suspense thing thank you

    @ The Saw Annunaki

    You see why de ole man does keep way from these topics? Cockroach ent got not right at fowl cock party which I will misinterpret to mean that idjits like me should not be conversing with giants like you and Pachamama

    You mean to tell me that this oil exploration exercise started in 1980?

    Oh Sage you have got to be kidding me

    Steupseee den on the other side we have Dr James Husbands the man who started Solar Heating Initiatives in Barbados lapsing to the point where Solar Dynamics is now struggling to survive

    This should have been the man to have driven Renewable Energy with a dual water heating cum electricity generating unit

    You dun see why de ole man does intone the Biblical verse “…hewers of wood and drawers of water…” when I comment about we niggers who claim to be independent.

    Steupseee

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    Sage not Saw***

    Like

  • @PUDRYR

    The RE environment should have been sufficiently enabled that Solar Dynamics and similar companies should have been able to sustain success unless poorly managed.

    Like

  • @PUDRYR

    We have discussed these matters before in this forum- there is a reason why many of the universities are not R&D?

    Like

  • “It would appear like lecturers in the regional universities believe that their jobs are sacrosanct and that once appointed they have a job for life.”

    They are leeches indeed, many of them already are close to the mandatory age 70 for retirement.

    Like

  • So reading with a discerning eye why would the T&T government sever so many BEFORE the semester ends? The logic is elusive at this time.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Pieceuhderockyeahright May 13, 2018 2:27 PM
    “…… on the other side we have Dr James Husbands the man who started Solar Heating Initiatives in Barbados lapsing to the point where Solar Dynamics is now struggling to survive
    This should have been the man to have driven Renewable Energy with a dual water heating cum electricity generating unit…”

    Had a conversation a few years back with J H on the same subject.

    The reasons he proffered why it was not feasible at the time were ‘steeped’ in economics.

    The local ‘limited’ market would have found it ‘cheaper’ to import such technology from Germany and China at a cost far below what it could cost to store and install such ‘locally-assembled’ hybrid / combination units.

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ The Honourable Blogmaster

    Please don’t get me wrong as it relates to my R&D rant.

    T is not that I am saying that all of our Universities should have R&D units that at least are self supporting it is rather that I am saying that in the years of their respective operations we have yet to produce one unit which is a serious contender in thus regard GIVEN ALL OUR LUMINARIES AND BIG UP PROFESSORIAL PERSONAGES

    But let me not pause my rant there Honourable Blogmaster I shall go a little further while using my accustomed plagiarism and explain how these mature first world countries structure their

    “…The 2014 Innovation Leader Compensation Survey is available as a collection of “bonus material” related to performance metrics and incentive payments.

    One Survey respondent said that their “Cash bonus is tied to effectively advancing innovation initiatives across the enterprise .. “,

    IN other words staff at these innovation centres get paid based on their performance

    I will end my rant by suggesting that the times demand that there can be no free rides for the leeches

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ The Honourable Blogmaster

    Your assistance please

    Like

  • Clarification noted PUDRYR.

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ the Sage Annunaki

    De ole man will admit to a likkle knowledge of “national indicative programs”

    The Caribbean Export Development Agency with its ruler Pamela Cooke would have willingly underwritten Dr James

    As would have the InterAmerican Development Bank

    IN fact close examination of a certain Renewable Energy project through the same Caribbean Export for a particular millionaire bukkra Johnnie family deflates James’s lame excuses.

    But I ent want to expose all we details of that CE su su

    Like

  • Baffy rape what.

    “”MASSIVE FIRING AT UTT BEGINS: UTT LECTURERS DISMISSED AMIDST IMBERT’S BRIGHT FORECAST”

    Why is this important in Barbados?

    Like

  • fortyacresandamule

    40 might sound high, but what % of the total academic cohort does this number represent? Carnival studies! …really ! UWI is basically a teaching university. Very few cited top quality research and most postgrad degrees are awarded in the humanities and social sciences.

    The Times of Higher Education ranking had it at # 998 out of 1000 universities worldwide a few years back. Even Uganda top university ( Makere) was ranked way higher than UWI.

    Like

  • It is reported that terminated teachers are on hunger strike?

    Like

  • PIECE UH DE ROCK YEAH RIGHT

    @ The Honourable Blogmaster

    How many? cause we dun know that left to the UWI crew that fired them all of them going dead.

    That “hunger strike” has to be a rumour cause no person in their right senses would risk that bluff

    Like

  • @PUDRYR

    VoB carried the news item at 5:30.

    Like

Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s