Imbert: Do the rich need GATE?
According to Finance Minister Colm Imbert, this is a question that must be discussed.
The issue was raised at the Standing Finance Committee discussions at the Parliament sitting yesterday. Former Tertiary education minister Fazal Karim noted that $650 million was allocated for GATE. But, he said, this sum does not reflect Government’s statement that the programme will be expanded.
He further asked whether this sum would cover expenses for some 67 medical students.
Imbert said that GATE is a special fund to which there are transfers. He said $650 million has been allocated and there was a balance before, so there was now about $700 million allocated for 2016 expenses.
“We are comfortable at this point in time that the balance that already exists in the GATE fund, that this transfer of $650 million is adequate to meet all the demands of this fund in fiscal 2016 including the payment for the medical students who were denied GATE funding by you,” he said.
Former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh pointed out that the Government had indicated that there would be a means test for the GATE programme and he asked whether this would affect the appropriation.