Education Minister has dubbed the allegations of corruption surrounding the school tablets as nothing more than a political gimmick. Our news team met up with the aspring Prime Minister today where he spoke on this matter and more. According to Minister Patrick Faber this is an attack against his ministry in the absence of any act of corruption on his part.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Party Leader, United Democratic Party: “The invoice that NBZ Live put out is clearly fabricated for a number of reasons including the fact that the number of tablets or phablets as they’re called that is on that invoice is clearly wrong. We are going to provide fifteen thousand five hundred devices but it is not all from one source. As I mentioned in the House of Representatives there is the IDB funds that we hope can reimburse the government for what it will spend and there is another grant from the CDB which is procuring the additional devices through the UNDP so you could tell that it is fabricated. The date on it is from July long before I even announced that there would be a kind of device distribution mass scale like that. I’m told that the phone number on the thing is some kind of suicide hotline so this is clearly the People’s United Party and their operatives – Rhenea Nunez and NBZ Live who everybody knows is PUP hardcore – trying to discredit an initiative by our administration that will clearly blow the PUP away in terms of what they promised in their education agenda. Furthermore they don’t have much to say about Faber. They say a lot of things but in terms of my management of the Ministry of Education for the last going on thirteen years they have never seen me mixed up in any kind of scandal so they feel the need now to generate some kind of scheme or scam in order to make it look like I am into that. If that was my agenda you would have heard about that a long time ago not at the end of my thirteen years almost in the Ministry of Education. So I reject all of what they’ve said, that is the furthest thing away from the truth, I am not into that kind of activity. I have operated above board for all of these years and I have tried my best to ensure that the children of this nation whom I serve primarily but all the ot her education stakeholders get the best bang for our buck and I do not step away from that now even as I depart from the Ministry of Education because one way or the other that is going to be the result I am pretty sure. This is the close of my tenure in the Ministry of Education and I would not try in any way to soil my reputation by doing some nonsense like they are purporting I did.”
Minister Faber went on to say that the political mischief has setback the procurement process. He says that aside, the distribution of the tablets will be fair across the board and there will be no political favoritism showed.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Party Leader, United Democratic Party: “I will tell you the kind of mischief that has been created by that invoice causes some eyebrows to raise and slows down our progress in terms of trying to get things done. We hope that school can resume on October 5th as we’ve announced. We are hoping still to receive the first shipment of the phablets in time to distribute at the opening of school for that time. There is work to be done still, the tablets as I’ve said are going to come with software already loaded but there is also the textbooks that we are looking to procure from publishers that can be loaded on there so that schools don’t have to demand students to have text books. Now putting all of this in such a short period of time is going to be difficult but my people are working over time not because it’s election, not because of any other nonsense that people might be thinking it is simply because our children have been out of school for too long and we need as best as we can to get them back into school. That’s my primary agenda and that has always been my agenda to ensure our children get a good quality education. The devices as I’ve said will not be distributed politically either I made this point in the House some time ago when I addressed it. Schools have done two survey at the request of the Ministry of Education and we have determined where the need is for the devices, which students need devices, the schools did that assessment and so the distribution of the devices will be distributed, will be done based on the needs that have come out of that survey. There are some who might not need a device, there are some who might need, there are some who have multiple children in the home where maybe one device can serve I don’t know but I can assure people it is not going to be a political football in terms of the distribution because that is not how I operate and that is not certainly how my my Ministry of Education has operated over the time that I have been leader of that ship.”
The tablets are expected to be distributed by October 6 when the new academic year is set to begin.