Freddie Kissoon, Henry Jeffrey believed targets at UG
October 19, 2011 | By KNews.
Student Society in solidarity with threatened lecturers
A practice that has been in place at the University of Guyana (UG) for several years is now being challenged by the government representatives on the Council of the learning institution, and some are blaming the political climate.
While there is still widespread speculation, the University’s administration is not helping matters, as all queries are being met with reluctance to comment on the brewing fiasco.
This newspaper understands that given the unique nature of the way the University operates, a lecturer would be hired by the Vice
Chancellor and this appointment will subsequently be ratified by the Council.
The ratification process prior to substantive employment is deemed to be the lawful way, but according to inside sources, the manner with which the University operates makes it logical that the ratification in some cases follows the position adopted by the Vice Chancellor to employ a person and this has never been challenged before.
The University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU) on Monday last reported that the government’s representatives on the Council of the University of Guyana, with the exception of Indra Chandarpal, signed a petition to the Chancellor recently, requesting an extraordinary meeting of the Council.
At that meeting, which occurred just over a week ago, government representatives Gail Teixeira; Pulander Khandai, Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Education; Dr. Ghansham Singh of the Georgetown Public Hospital; PPP Member of Parliament, Bibi Shadick and Dr. Prem Misir, reportedly requested the Vice Chancellor to immediately terminate the contracts of a number of lecturers.
This newspaper was told, however, that the action is merely aimed at targeting selected persons, and the others to be affected are being considered collateral damage.
Kaieteur News was reliably informed that the ploy is geared at specifically targeting former Minister of Foreign Trade and Cooperation Dr. Henry Jeffrey and outspoken columnist and social activist Frederick Kissoon.
Dr. Jeffrey had a very public falling out with the ruling administration and President Bharrat Jagdeo over the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union and CARIFORUM Countries.
Freddie Kissoon and Jagdeo are currently embroiled in a libel matter before the High Court.
The matter at the University, however, is being handled as a procedural infraction that has to be remedied.
The University of Guyana Students’ Society (UGSS) is not standing idly by, and is supporting the lecturers, saying that they will not countenance any moves to further deplete the institution of its educators.
Speaking with this newspaper, UGSS President Dwayne Edwards concedes that while there may be procedural infractions as it relates to the employment of some of the lecturers, it is a matter that can be addressed amicably.
He said that they will in no way support the dismissal of any lecturers, adding that all of the persons in question are all eminently qualified, and it would be a disservice for such an irrational position to be taken in the form of dismissing the lecturers.
Edwards pointed out that already several of the courses being offered at the University are being hampered as a result of the lack of lecturers, and he questioned why anyone would want to further deplete the institution of its resources.
Should this be the case, Edwards stressed that it is only the students at the University that would suffer.
The UGWU, through action spearheaded by its Chairman Bruce Haynes and Vice Chairman Frederick Kissoon, on Monday, last, approached the media in an attempt to fend off what the body called “the most vicious political assault on the University since its birth.”
The action, according to the Union members, entailed the unlawful dismissal of several University lecturers.
According to the union representatives, the Vice Chancellor has no power to issue contracts without ratification by the Council and as was explained to the Government representatives, “the Vice Chancellor acts on behalf of the University in the absence of Council.”
It was further explained that at the beginning of the academic year, in order to acquire lecturers, the Vice Chancellor acts when Council is not in session.
“This is commonsense in management science since lecturers are needed to teach courses at the beginning of the school year…It would be a disaster to wait until Council meets to get the university classrooms moving…This is not the way universities the world over operate.”
The Union members indicated that this was explained to the representatives “but they want the termination to go ahead and are insisting on their demand.”
The union representatives have reported that the Registrar pointed out to them that the University semester is in progress and “the Union would like to state that if the University accedes to the request of the Government, it will be nine weeks into the current semester.”
According to the Union, should this happen, it would mean the “complete disruption of a number of classes; inability of the University to find adequate replacements; the students who pay for their education would be badly affected.”
The Union stated that it is of the view that the Council members are acting on an edict issued high up in the structure of Government and designed to get at certain lecturers because of the election campaign.
The union had also reported that its Vice-Chairman made contact with Dr. Emmanuel Cummings, a member of the Appointments Committee and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
WAS JEFFREY NOT A PPP MEMBER, IS THIS WHAT THEY DO TO DISCARDED PPP MEMBERS, WHOM THEY DO NOT FIND USEFUL. SHAMELESS.