Imbert on GATE: We will not do anything irrational, anything to hurt anyone

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 20:00

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has sent a message to students, to not fear what is coming when the Cabinet decides on adjustments to the GATE programme.

"We are going to be practical. We are going to be sensible. We are going to be compassionate," he said as he addressed reporters at today's post-Cabinet media conference.

He reminded the media that it was a PNM Government that introduced GATE 12 years ago.

"So we are not going to do anything whimsical. We are not going to do anything irrational. We are not going to do anything that will hurt anybody," he said.

His comments came just one day after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley told students at the UWI Mona Campus, that GATE will continue.

Minister Imbert, who is also the acting prime minister, said the Government will, however, try to bring GATE back to the purpose for which it was established and cut out abuse.

"You must appreciate there has been a lot of abuse over the years," he said.

He said over the years, non-accredited institutions were authorised for GATE-funding, which was not in the original plan.

He pointed to other forms of abuse, including people being allowed to do several degrees or to move from one degree to another without finishing the previous one.

"It has gone way beyond its original purpose," Minister Imbert said.

He said the participation rate has grown from 11-12% of the people who finished secondary education in 2004, to over 65% by 2015.

GATE is now costing the State, $700 million per year.

The Minister said he hope Cabinet can make a decision in the next couple weeks.

- Sampson Nanton, CNC3 Digital