Pentecostal school board chair: Bring on the audit

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pastor Glenroy Frank, chairman of the Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation, Tobago.

PASTOR Glenroy Frank, chairman of the board of management of the Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation, Tobago, has welcomed the THA Division of Education, Research and Technology’s decision to initiate an audit into the school’s financial records.

The division’s line secretary Zorisha Hackett announced the audit on Wednesday at the post-Executive Council news conference.

She said other denominational schools – Bishop’s High School and Harmon School of the SDA – will also be audited. Hackett said an audit firm has not been identified. “As soon as this information is available, the public will know.”

Hackett’s announcement came amid growing tension between the Pentecostal-run school and the division over the handling of infrastructural and other issues at the school.

THA Secretary for Education, Research and Technology Zorisha Hackett.

Two Thursdays ago, a day after other Tobago schools reopened, the board issued an advisory saying the school would be closed until further notice. It said then, that 23 of the 27 teachers had left the premises, citing health and safety concerns.

But on Sunday April 24, the board reversed its decision, saying in another advisory that the school would reopen on April 25. It said work was expedited over the weekend and will go on over the next two weeks to address the teachers’ concerns.

At the briefing last Thursday, Hackett said the relationship between the division and the Light and Life Foundation began in 2001. She said the school has been receiving disbursements of more than $600,000 consistently from the THA every school term since 2018.

Last Thursday, Frank told Newsday, “I welcome the audit. It will reveal the way we have been treated over the years even under the PNM.” He claimed the school was deprived of many things and had got no response.

Saying he still has “a little heart” for Hackett, “because I don’t think that she really has a good understanding of how the division behaves,” Frank added, “I am a little bit concerned about the fact that we (Light and Life Foundation) were singled out. The same payments are made to Bishop’s.”

But Hackett told Newsday this is not the case.

“No, it differs. It depends on the number of students, size of the grounds, premises and other factors,” she said via WhatsApp. Frank believes workers in the division are giving Hackett wrong information.

“I know the media likes sensationalism, but what I am looking for is a solution, because some of the things are woefully inadequate.”

He further accused Hackett of trying to sully his name and that he had been advised to retain a lawyer.

“But I am not going in that direction. I know that will only create more problems. God directs us to come and reason together, and if it is red it can become white. If it is hard, it can become soft.”

He said many officers in the division “have this petty thinking that the school is getting a lot of money.

“(Of) that $600,000 she spoke about, $400,000 is to pay salaries…And the heart of the query is that we were being paid for the past 20 years. She comes out there as if Light and Life licking up the money, when we are ketching we uncle and nennen to survive.”

He said the audit will reveal the truth.

“If she has to do an audit, I hope she wouldn’t suppress anything.”