Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

For the 2020/21 academic year the 30,000 students funded by the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) programme will not be affected by the recently announced changes in the GATE policy.

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly confirmed this in the Senate yesterday replying to a question from Independent senator Paul Richards.

Richards asked about the expected number of tertiary level students who will be affected by cuts to the GATE programme announced by Government last week.

Government is cutting GATE funding to postgraduate students from 2021 and reducing scholarships from 400 to 100.

Replying to Richards’ query, Gadsby-Dolly said, that for the academic year 2020-21 none of the approximately 30,000 GATE-funded students will be affected by the changes.

She said the approximate 800 postgraduate students currently receiving GATE will continue to do so until the end of the academic year 2020/21.

“New students will not be eligible (for GATE), “ she added

“The approximately 900 students in Jamaica and Barbados including the 2020 intake will be funded at the present level of GATE for the normal duration of their programme.”

She added, “Future students applying for GATE at those institutions will receive funding at the cost level of these courses at St Augustine campus.”

Gadsby-Dolly said it was estimated that the quantum of the expenditure expected to be reduced by the non-funding of the students was approximately $30m.

On other queries from UNC senator David Nakhid, Minister Gadsby –Dolly reiterated that the decision on closing some UTT campuses involving keeping costs at a minimum. She repeated the seven other campuses to which students would be filtered.

Nakhid asked if UTT staff and students were consulted on the decision. Gadsby-Dolly said it was a decision of UTT’s board which was cognisant of financial information and the decision was taken on the basis of financial circumstances.

She also said the Education Ministry would be responsible for administering the bursaries for students in the reduced scholarship system.

Frankie stumped

by Anil document

On another issue, Energy Minister Franklin Khan was unable to answer a certain question from UNC senator Anil Roberts on a matter concerning the payment which Paria Fuel Trading Company received for the oil shipment it sold in April.

Replying to a series of queries from Roberts, Khan had earlier said that in March to April Paria bought 1.24 million barrels of oil from Trafigura PTE Ltd. He said the transactions were conducted from Paria’s day to day operating banks accounts.

Khan said Paria supplies the local market and Caricom markets.

Khan also said payment for 148, 968 barrels of gasoline—sold by Paria—which was received from ES Euro SA was transferred from the Deutsche Bank to Paria’s account at the Royal Bank of Canada.

But he said for commercial reasons the payments for the barrels of oil cannot be disclosed.

Roberts noted a Paria advertisement and the ministry had stated the payment went to Paria’s RBC account.

But Roberts said he had an Energy Ministry document laid in Parliament which showed that the April 27 invoice for the payment showed it was to be made to Paria’s First Citizens account instead.

“ How is it possible it went to RBC instead when the invoice stated it be made to a First Citizen’s bank account?!” Roberts asked.

Khan said, “Well, I’m not seized of that information. If he has that information and it’s on the Hansard (Parliamentary record) I’ll check to verify the veracity and what are the reasons behind it.”