Five days after the Trinidad and Tobago Hotel and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) shut its doors its former Chief Executive Officer has defended his stewardship.
Brian Frontin, who resigned from the institution last month, said many false statements have been put into the public domain about his time at the institution.
However, in a 28-page statement to the media on Tuesday evening, Frontin said all was not well at the institute for quite a long time.
He suggested there were many “unchecked and reckless activities” occurring at the school and spent the last four years assessing its operations. This, he indicated, was not an easy task due to the lack of cooperation by the former executive director about certain practices
Among them, he stated was the absence of a formal agreement proving that the government provided an annual subvention for 17 years amounting to TT$192 million. Despite several enquiries to the then board, the former CEO said many of these practices remain “unexplained.”
Last Friday, in a media release, the board of directors announced that it could no longer afford to keep the institution running, citing the pandemic and a shortfall in revenue as the reasons. On Saturday, the Ministry of Education issued a statement advising that it provided subventions to the institute as well as further financial assistance through the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses programme. However, the Ministry said it was forced to cease subventions to the TTHTI because of its failure to account for expenditure from the period 2013/2014 onwards.
Frontin said the Ministry’s statement about the school’s financial records is accurate. However, he set the record straight saying the years in question were under the tenure of the former TTHTI board.
Guardian Media attempted to contact the former executive director yesterday for comment but all of our calls went unanswered. Additionally, a message sent to her phone via WhatsApp was left unread.
Meanwhile, the former CEO said the Ministry of Education acted prejudicially stopping subventions in 2016 without warning, therefore, failing to give the new board a chance.
Reduced student enrolment following changes to GATE and no state funding meant the 24-year-old institution was on the brink of collapse.
Hoping for a lifeline from the state, Frontin revealed a letter was sent to the Ministry of Education and copied to the Prime Minister advising them of the school’s inability to operate pass July 31. However, he said they never received a response.
In a brief telephone interview on Saturday, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly indicated she will be approaching the Prime Minister on the issue, assuring also that the Ministry will make all efforts to ensure students’ efforts do not go down the drain.