THE EDITOR: Permit me to add my voice to a letter from a mariner and former instructor of the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute (CFTDI) which was published in your newspaper.
As the retired vice principal of the institute in question, I fully endorse the contents expressed by that writer. The CFTDI is the only institution that provides training for fisherfolk and people who would like to work at sea.
It also provides opportunities for people who, for whatever reason(s), are unable to go beyond secondary education training.
I myself have written to the Prime Minister on the plight of this institute and more so on the concerted effort of the board that, up to the time that its term of office ended, did nothing to ensure the success of this institute.
Sometime in 2022, I watched in horror as the then minister of agriculture struggled to defend an action of the chairman, who was appointed by the minister himself.
In the meantime, following the resignation of the former minister, the current minister and the permanent secretary have remained silent on the plight of the institute even though the Ministry of Agriculture has direct responsibility for providing oversight for its operations.
As of today, the institute has remained as a rudderless ship drifting out to sea with no senior administrative technical support in place.
Clearly, I can only deduce from the non-actions of the minister and PS that their silence can only mean that the days of this institute, just like the TT Hotel Institute, are numbered and is earmarked for closure.
I trust that the Prime Minister, in whose constituency this institute operates, understands that the CFTDI is essential to providing the necessary support for the development of the fisheries sector of TT and that its current location is also essential and necessary in providing required practical training.
Joan Gower de Chabert
University of Manitoba