UG’s Vice Chancellor and Principal refutes claims of overspending
University of Guyana Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith
Professor Ivelaw Griffith, the University of Guyana’s Vice Chancellor and Principal, has responded to news that his administration has been spending excessively for some time now.
UG’s two unions, the Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and the Workers’ Union (UGWU), have requested an audit into UG’s spending. Those unions have jointly published advertisements detailing why they think an audit is needed.
It was reported that the unions as well as students, have complained that faculty washrooms go without toilet paper and soap. Former Vice President of the UGSSA, Dr. Mellissa Ifill, had said that the administration spent upward of $400,000 to cater a dinner for eight at Renaissance House.
She balked at the fact that the administration would spend that much on dinner for eight, when toilet paper and soap is commonly unavailable in her faculty’s washrooms.
To this, Griffith said “Not only is it patently inaccurate to assert that there is no toilet paper and soap at UG, but the claim that $400,000 was spent on a dinner for eight individuals is patently false!”
Speaking to Kaieteur News, he said that, looking through records at hand, there is no note of a dinner for eight being held and paid for by the administration. He said that there was a dinner at his home, but that that dinner was catered for by his own housekeeper, for nine persons.
Kaieteur News reported on Sunday that data from the University of Guyana Audited and Unaudited Financial Statements and budget documents (2014-2019) suggests that money is disproportionately allocated to the Executive body.
Emolument costs illustrated by their release show that, in 2013, the combined compensatory packages for the executive body amounted to less than $60M. In 2018 that figure stood well over $180M.
Those figures stand precisely at $52,870,353 and $194,419,000 respectively.
Professor Griffith said that this steep increase is due to the fact that fewer persons constituted the executive body in 2013.
On salaries for other staff of the university, the Vice Chancellor stated, “In 2017, staff received salary increases of six and eight percent. In 2018, the increases were three and four percent – tax free. Also noteworthy, is that every time the base salary increase, the sum of the housing allowance, which is 20 percent of the base salary, also increases by the percentage of the base salary increase.”
Griffith said that the graphics provided by the union leaders is part of a campaign they are on to force him out of the institution, since he has signaled his interest in renewing his contract, upon its expiry.
The unions await an audit to be done into the administration’s operations. Due to these requests, the Ministry of Education has written to the administration, notifying them of the unions’ request.
In response, Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith said, “The Administration welcomes the opportunity to clear the air on the allegations and assertions by the unions and other individuals.”
He said that the Administration is willing to have its financial position examined by any competent and independent Arbiter.
On the other hand, he said that the union leaders have ignored the administration’s request for information “that would facilitate transparency and accountability” of the two unions.
“We asked them for items every credible union should have: their Articles of Association, Certificates of Recognition from the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board, and recent statements of income and expenditure,” Griffith said.
- The University of Guyana