An initiative aimed at turning the island’s premier tertiary institution, the T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) into a major institute of learning has fallen to the ground following the decision of United States-based PETNA Foundation to pull out of the deal.
The announcement was made at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministerial Complex in Tanteen, St. George’s by Information Minister Senator Winston Garraway.
He told reporters that PETNA has pulled out of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to give a badly needed lift to TAMCC due to the Keith Mitchell-led government’s failure to attract the desired candidate to become the new TAMCC President under the agreement.
He said the Foundation communicated its decision to withdraw from the MOU through a letter dated March 29, 2019.
“The most critical (reason why PETNA pulled out) is the government’s inability to attract the desired candidate to become the President of TAMCC,” Garraway told reporters, noting that while the Foundation applauded the objectives met so far under the MOU, it felt that “the broader objectives of the MOU requires a level of leadership and sustained commitment which has so far not materialised.”
Sen. Garraway said the Foundation in its letter stated that the decision to pull out of the agreement was taken “with all due consideration to withdraw from the agreement with a large measure of regret,” and noted among other things that “after two (2) years, we still do not have the requisite leadership in spite of the stellar candidate that has been identified.
He spoke of the letter pointing out that the candidate who was identified for the top job was considered as having a significant attribute to the success of the TAMCC project by PETNA.
In October 2016, the Mitchell government along with the Tanteen-based TAMCC, PETNA Foundation and Canadian-based Mc Master University, signed the MOU which was aimed at making the college the premier tertiary institution in the Caribbean region.
Key to achieving the objectives as set out under the MOU was the appointment of a new president to manage the operations of TAMCC.
Sen. Garraway revealed that the PETNA foundation had pledged US$1M towards ensuring that the faculty development would be done” and he said the “money was to be paid directly to Mc Master University, who was responsible for the development of the faculties and curriculum and the like…”.
The brainchild behind the foundation is Grenadian-born Earle Nicholas Brathwaite, who is a leading technology expert in the Silicon Valley area of California in the United States.
THE NEW TODAY understands that a steering committee was also established and that as part of the MOU, a new and qualified president had to be appointed with effect from July, 2018, and an agreement was signed with a Canadian firm to lead the recruitment process.
The person identified for the job was Canadian Educator, Dr. Judeline Innocent from Ontario whose academic career includes teaching assignments at Queen’s University, Mc Master University and Trent University, and Fleming and Boreal Colleges.
According to Sen. Garraway, the government was unable to satisfy the requirements to recruit Dr. Innocent, who has a solid track record of accomplishment of successful programme management, developing and promulgating best practices with integrity and initiating alternative service delivery models.
He said the “two critical issues that we had to satisfy was a pension plan and medical insurance” and both of them proved to be out of the reach of the administration.
He stated that “there were certain values that were expected given that what is offered in Grenada is not comparable to what is required in Canada and that was one of the drawbacks.”
Sen. Garraway indicated that as a result of government’s inability to satisfy the requirement, Dr. Innocent “pulled out from being the recruitment candidate” for the job and the PETNA Foundation has now followed suit.
The TAMCC transformation process entails a reassessment of the curriculum offered at the college, its relevance and the manner in which it functions by building capacity within the institution, which was expected to be able to sustain itself by internal resources following the 5-year development period under the MOU.
Sen. Garraway told reporters the Mitchell government remains “committed to finding the necessary partners” to ensure that TAMCC is developed into a better and more sustainable institution.