A letter to the UG Staff on Freddie Kissoon
Dr. Patsy Francis
University of Guyana
Turkeyen and Tain
Dear Dr. Francis:
Having been afforded the opportunity to engage in extensive dialogue with the Executives of the UGSSA, UGWU, and the UGSS on Tuesday and Wednesday (February 7-8, 2012), and having acknowledged the various concerns and appeals presented by the Executives of these unions, I am prepared to work steadfastly toward the timely resolution of the issues raised.
While I recognize, as perhaps you do also, the infeasibility of an immediate resolution to all the issues highlighted at our two meetings, I believe that several concerns and appeals can be constructively addressed and reconciled, and I will proceed to do so through this communication.
First, I will address the Government of Guyana-initiated World Bank Loan of US$10 million for the University of Guyana Science and Technology Support Project. There appears to be a misguided perception that the Government of Guyana refuses to sign the World Bank negotiated loan, and that this ‘refusal to sign’ the loan is an indication of prevarication on the part of the Government.
This is not the case. The first disbursement of this loan is conditional to the University of Guyana and the Ministry of Education establishing a Steering Committee to oversee the project as well as the University of Guyana’s preparation of the terms of reference for the project execution unit, among other conditions. Once these conditions precedent to the first disbursement are satisfied, the Government of Guyana will sign the loan agreement to trigger the disbursement.
The World Bank loan is intended to ensure actualization of the following undertakings:
• to produce a renaissance in the science curriculum, oriented toward the significant needs of the LCDS;
• to support basic research, in order to advance knowledge on environmental conservation and biodiversity preservation;
• to enhance existing laboratory facilities and the infrastructure of the four faculties, inclusive of drainage, internet network, and facilities management.
Second, with respect to the current institutional structure of the university, efforts have been made to transform the archaic constitution of the university, in order to promote efficient administration analogous to that of contemporary universities. In this regard, the CDB approved a grant of US$250,000 (83%) with UG matching this funding with US$50,000 (17%), to guide the rehabilitation of the regulatory and operational framework of the institution.
The expected outputs from this project include presenting a relevant regulatory framework, a resource mobilization plan, a change management program, and corporate systems and operational procedures. Through the public tendering process, a consultant was selected, and the project will commence imminently.
Third, in response to the appeal for the immediate commencement of infrastructural rehabilitation work at the Turkeyen Campus, the following initiatives have been outlined for urgent execution:
Painting of Buildings
External painting to the following buildings: Agriculture, Natural Science Annex, Biodiversity, Health Science, Education Lecture Theatre, Technology, Stables – Arts and Social Sciences, George Walcott Lecture Theatre, and the small Lecture Theatre.
Replacing of Roofs
Replacement of defective zinc sheets on the following buildings: Senior Common Room, New Building Society Hall of Residence, Technology, Maintenance, Offices of Natural Sciences, Health Sciences Anatomy Laboratory and the Stables – Social Sciences and Arts.
Restoration of Sewage Systems and Washrooms
Rehabilitation and flushing of all manholes and total rehabilitation of tile works in washrooms.
Drainage and Irrigation
The perimeter canals are constantly cleared; however, clearing of the main distribution outlets leading to the Liliendaal Pump Station outside of the Campus will be addressed.
The electrical wiring in 90% of the existing buildings will be replaced.
Perimeter Fencing of Campus, approximately 70% of the Campus will be fenced for security reasons.
Finally, the issue regarding the non-appointment of Frederick Kissoon as a Lecturer has been misconstrued as being influenced by political bias, despite the fact that the University Council has a wide cross-section of societal membership. Additionally, Mr. Kissoon, being a pensioner, is not subject to automatic re-employment. The Council by consensus on strictly academic considerations decided to terminate Mr. Kissoon’s one-year contract, which did not have the prior approval of the Appointments Committee. As stipulated in the contract, Mr. Kissoon will be granted all salaries in lieu of notice and all other benefits to which he is entitled.
As I indicated previously in this communication, I recognize that there are issues affecting the university community, issues that need our collaborative efforts to resolve. For this reason, I remain resolute in my commitment to work with the representatives of the UGSSA, the UGWU, and the UGSS to bring our discussions and decisions to successful and amicable conclusions.
Prem Misir, Ph.D.
Cc: Prof. Compton
Dr. Marlene Cox, Deputy Vice-Chancellor