– after deal struck in Parliament
Almost a decade after Government stopped the annual subvention to Critchlow Labour College, the way has been paved for the assistance to resume.
This was after an Opposition-piloted motion, in an intense debate, was passed in the National Assembly last evening, but not before an agreement on the makeup of its members which will now include representatives from a number of Government-aligned union federations.
The institution, on Woolford Avenue, has been struggling since 2004 when the administration pulled the assistance, more than $30M annually, claiming that the college has to get its accounts in order.
A respected tertiary education facility, Critchlow Labour College has fallen on hard times, at one time closing for several months because of the cash situation. The restoration of the subvention would spell good news for its fortunes.
The motion for the restoration of the funds was tabled in December by Member of Parliament, Trevor Williams, of the Alliance For Change (AFC), himself a former student.
At one point, the Government side was dead set against the subvention, insisting that accounts were still not up to order.
However, the debate took a swing when MP Manzoor Nadir challenged the AFC to consider placing four representatives of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) on the Board and a similar number from the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC).
AFC quickly grabbed the opportunity and during a break, drafted an amendment to allow the change to the board. It was accepted by the Government side.
Earlier, Government was highly critical of Critchlow’s operations noting that while millions every year was being paid out, there were no clear indications how the taxpayers’ monies were being spent.
Comparisons were made to the labour college of the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) which used its own monies to build the facility in Kingston.
In the 1980s, the college was acknowledged as the busiest labour institution in the Caribbean.
Critchlow Labour College, named after Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, was established over 40 years ago.
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