THE EDITOR: The University of TT (UTT) is caught between two Imberts as if in the pincers of Mancrab.
On one side there is Colm, the Minister of Finance, who holds the purse strings and who has been slowly whittling away at the UTT subventions, and perhaps those of all tertiary education institutions, since 2015.
On the other side is Clement, the hapless chairman of the UTT board of directors, who, having been accused of mismanaging the institution, gave an “it wasn’t me” interview, reminiscent of reggae artiste Shaggy.
Now chairman Imbert wants to have a fire sale of prime UTT campuses, supposedly to raise money, but in fact this initiative was begun and pushed even before the last election.
Questions arose then about the hurry with which UTT was pushing the emptying of campuses, packing people up in a Tamana campus, which offers little in the way of physical amenities.
When the Waterloo research campus was turned into a primary school, then speculation arose that former education minister Anthony Garcia, who had built no schools and improved few during his tenure, wanted these campuses for schools as well – a sort of last-ditch effort to appear constructive.
Certainly, money could not have been a concern back in July-August, given that just before the new Government came in, one of the last acts of the UTT board was sanctioning some “in-practice” promotions which raised the salaries of the promoted staff from at least $6,000 to possibly $20,000 a month.
Understand that these were increases, not the entire salary. Understand too that individuals from the industry are appointed to in-practice positions commensurate with their experience.
It is both unprecedented and illogical to have someone promoted within academic ranks to an in-practice position. It just does not make sense. One individual jumped two ranks from senior instructor to associate professor. Utter madness! And all presided over by chairman Clement. So, it was him. Chairman Julien had already been ousted when these egregious promotions were made for no rhyme nor reason, given to undistinguished people without merit.
So UTT Imbert should do the honourable thing – resign, encourage the whole board to do so, and fade into the sunset. It’s more than time!