Thursday 26 November, 2020

Ministry of Tourism, MoE respond to TTHTI's decision to close

On Friday, the Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) announced that it took 
decision to initiate a voluntary wind up of the company after 24 years in operation, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the non-payment of subventions by the Government.

On Friday, the Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) announced that it took decision to initiate a voluntary wind up of the company after 24 years in operation, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the non-payment of subventions by the Government.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts and the Ministry of Education have both responded to the announcement by the Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) of its decision to permanently close.

On Friday, the Board announced that it took a
decision to initiate a voluntary wind up of the company after 24 years in operation, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the non-payment of subventions by the Government.

It said prior to its decision to permanently close the Institute, several letters requesting urgent meetings were dispatched by both the TTHTI and its parent body, the THRTA, to the Ministry of Education, the most recent being July 9 and 22.

In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Tourism said there is a sufficient pool of skilled and talented human resources to support the development of the hospitality and tourism sector in the short to medium future.

It said "it has the full confidence that the Ministry of Education will make every effort to resolve this issue" taking into consideration the interests of varied stakeholders, including persons seeking to advance their training and skills for work in the sector, as well as taxpayers who provide funding for the operations of the TTHTI. 

It added: "Given the present circumstances, it is even more important now that those given responsibility for the management of state funds ensure that value for money is obtained and that the management of the institution is held to appropriate standards of good governance."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said it is exploring all options to secure the availability of opportunities to seek advancement through training in hospitality and tourism to the public; and in addition, that the TTHTI fulfills its duty to the students affected by its decision.

In a statement, it said between 2016 and 2018, the Ministry of Education made several efforts to meet with the TTHTI to discuss certain anomalies as well as non-compliance with the reporting requirements established by the Ministry of Finance.

The TTHTI, it said, failed to account for several years of expenditure specifically related to its subventions- which were in the order millions of Trinidad and Tobago dollars per year.

The Ministry said the Annual Administrative Reports in respect of the TTHTI remain outstanding from 2013/2014 onwards.

Under these circumstances, it said, the subventions made to the Institution ceased in 2016.

The Ministry said all efforts to have this situation remedied have not been met with compliance.

It said by letter dated October 11, 2018, the Funding and Grants Administration Division of the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for processing applications for GATE funding, was advised by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) of the decision taken by the TTHTI to not pursue Continuing Institutional Accreditation with the ACTT, and to instead apply for Registration status.

The Ministry said this had the effect of disqualifying enrolled students for GATE, which is only available for students at institutions accredited by the ACTT.

It said ACTT has advised that the TTHTI has not completed its registration process and is obliged to communicate any substantial change, such as permanent closure, to the ACTT.

However, the Education Ministry noted that to date the ACTT has not received any formal communication from the TTHTI on its intention to cease operations.

It said concerns were also raised that the TTHTI has not submitted the required “Teach-Out” arrangement details that are usually made with a similar institution to ensure that registered students can be transferred in terms of their records, transcripts and documents, to ensure continuity.

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