Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Manning hired expensive foreign musicians, paid $1.5M a month: Karim

File: Fazal Karim
Government Senator Fazal Karim told his parliamentary colleagues Tuesday former Prime Minister Patrick Manning hired 20 foreign musicians for salaries as high as $90,000 to play in the the National Orchestra and Divine Echoes.

The Minister of Tertiary Education gave the figures in his contribution to the Budget debate. He said 
the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) sourced the musicians for Manning.

He gave some examples of monthly salaries:
  • Section leader viola: $80,920
  • Section Leader trombone: $74,570
  • Professor of music and section leader: $78,270
  • Section leader double bass: $66,920
  • Senior artiste in residence: $72,820
  • Another senior artiste in residence and associate professor: $82,560
  • Concert master for the band: $90,570
  • Professor of music Divine Echoes and principal trumpet: $80,650
Karim said the UTT engaged a consultant to find the musicians and the PM's office put aside the money to pay the salaries.

The minister also raised the issue of what he called a "slush fund" for scholarships, noting that between 2006 and April 2010 people at the UTT received tuition fees, living expenses and airfare up to $1.7 million. 

"I can tell you about three students, non-UTT personnel: 
  • PhD mechanical engineering at Imperial College UK since September 2006 — $1.244 million
  • PhD engineering at Cambridge UK from April 2006 — $1.565 million
  • PhD in engineering at Cambridge — $1.4 million
Karim also stated that abuse of GATE must stop. He gave a breakdown of monies recovered from underperforming students: 2010 - $3.2 million; 2011 - $3.8 million; 2012 - $12.4 million.

He said the investment in GATE since its inception in 2004 has been $3.9 billion. He charged that some institutions are doubling their fees, and over-invoicing the Government because there is no established standard to determine the right tuition fees.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
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