UWI downplays cash flow problems at Mona campus
Administrators at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, are downplaying the extent of cash flow problems at the facility even as staff and suppliers claim that they are experiencing lengthy delays in collecting from the accounts department.
One long-standing member of staff told The Sunday Gleaner that things are now the worst they have ever been, with salaries being paid later than usual and a serious shortage of basic supplies.
"You normally could depend on UWI that you would get your pay on the morning of the 25th, but now, all the following day before we get paid," said the staff member, who asked not to be named.
According to the staff member, the university has also failed to say when they will be paid six months' back pay that they were to have received in October, following the wage agreement with some government workers in August.
"Right now, you have government workers who get their increase - some get last week, with some to get this week - and all now we can't hear what is going on with ours," he charged.
"All the university a say is that the Government a hold it up. Why the Government would pay everybody else who has signed and not pay us on campus?"
But director of the Marketing, Recruitment and Communications Office at the UWI, Mona, Carroll Edwards, said the cash flow problem was experienced over the summer months and has since been rectified.
"The summer months are usually challenging for all the university campuses because fees are not paid during this period," said Edwards in an e-mailed response to The Sunday Gleaner.
"As a result, the summer period was challenging for the UWI, Mona, however, the financial situation has improved considerably since the start of the new academic year. The attendant problems that were created have now been resolved."
But The Sunday Gleaner sources were adamant that things are not back to normal. They claimed that some departments are still not getting adequate supplies of things like toilet paper and hand towels.
"It is not true that we are getting regular supplies. We got a few little things the other day, but the things come in trickling because they owe the suppliers. And when they do get things, is different places they get it from because they can't get from the regular suppliers," one source claimed.
"You even have student workers who they employ who don't get paid for how many weeks," charged the source.
He claimed that the campus is also facing an acute water shortage, and when our news team visited last week, one of the bathrooms provided for the use of students had no water. There was no hand soap, no toilet paper or hand towels in the bathroom.
Edwards conceded that there was a problem with water supply on the campus but said that the necessary steps such as trucking had been taken to secure the commodity.
"With regard to water supplies, the Mona campus, like the rest of the country, has been advised by the National Water Commission (NWC) that water restrictions have been lifted and that the level of supply has been improved, however, this has not resulted in increased supplies to the campus.
"As a result, the Mona campus has had to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure adequate water supplies," said Edwards.
The NWC's communications manager, Charles Buchanan, also admitted that water restrictions on the campus had not been fully lifted.
"The university is primarily supplied from the Hope Filter Plant. That facility has to serve a wide number of areas, and based on the way it is laid out, if you concentrate your service on the university campus too exclusively, you will end up depriving large parts of other communities of water," said Buchanan.
"So you can't serve all of them at the same time unless the situation is normalised at the plant, and it is not fully back to normal," said Buchanan as he added that there could also be a problem with the distribution of water on the campus, which could cause some sections to have water while others would be dry.