A nine-member board of the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (THTI), was commissioned on Monday with chairman Dr Alison Williams promising to capitalise on opportunities to make the Institute a premier tertiary institution of choice.
“I clearly understand what education is all about and what we may need to do in Tobago to fill the gaps that may exist in this island,” said Williams, who is a a former director of the National Training Agency (NTA) and currently serves a Senior Engineer at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)
“I promise that we would do our best to move the institution to another level in terms of its quality, in terms of its reach, in terms of the programmes offered and in terms of the quality.
“We must maintain the quality to ensure that we bring the level of our cadre of our staff and working persons in the tourism industry and perhaps in the broader economy of Tobago, up to scratch to ensure that we capitalise on the opportunities that would be before us.
“We would ensure that wherever there are opportunities for us to expand and develop this institution, to bring greater education to the people of Tobago and perhaps even increase the economy by inviting persons from outside to become students here, we would ensure that we capture that,” he said.
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary and Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy, under whose remit the Institute falls, said that board members were selected with ‘great care’ and that competence was looked at to ensure that at the end of the day, the Institute delivers on its mandate.
“We are at the stage right now where there is, in principle, an agreement with a consortium of foreign universities to partner with us as we seek to develop this institution… there is a draft memorandum of agreement and all we need to do now is to put that into legal language and ensure that both parties sign.
“My charge for you is for you to go forward, you are free to go where none has gone before… the voyager THTI is about to leave dock and
therefore don’t return until you have accomplished your mission,” he told board members.
Charles said a policy decision has been taken where jurisdiction for the THTI was removed from the Division of Tourism and placed with Division of Education.
“Perhaps the single most important justification for that is the fact that we are saying that this institution must move away from its narrow focus in respect of the tourism sector and must now broaden its appeal and operations so that it becomes in effect an integrated university for Tobago,” he said.