Garcia: School caterers to be paid ‘within days’


National School Feeding Programme caterers will be paid “a substantial sum” of money owed to them “within days” said Education Minister Anthony Garcia yesterday. He was answering a question from Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh in the House of Representatives.

Oropouche West MP Vidya Gayadeen Gopeesingh asked about the status of 150 ICT technicians in schools. Garcia replied the actual number is 100 and told the House the month-to-month contracts of the technicians will be replaced by three-year contracts after an appraisal which is ongoing.

Gayadeen Gopeesingh then asked Garcia about his ministry’s response to a recent burglary at Hillview College, Tunapuna. He said the school is a denominational one which gets state funds for security services and, during a visit earlier yesterday, he was told its security needs were being met.

In a listed question, Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh asked about non-payment of GATE funds to the TT Hospitality and Tourism Institute. Garcia said $2.7 million was paid to the institute for GATE and the ministry is now processing another $1.6 million in claims. He could not say when that sum would be paid.

Naparima MP Rodney Charles asked about ECCE schools in his area. Garcia said the Ben Lomond and Reform Village ECCE centres were 98 per cent complete, and the Reform Village Hindu School was 86 per cent ready. Work had been suspended owing to non-payment of contractors and the ministry is seeking funds but he could not say when they would be obtained.

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