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THE EDITOR: Since May 2017, School Feeding Caterers have not been paid-only 25% of May payment was paid in late May, a small percentage was paid in September and an even smaller percentage was given in October. Outstanding payments are due still for May, June, September and now October claims are to be submitted and now November is fast coming due.

The incompetence of the Ministry of Education under the Rowley Administration has resulted in the continued suffering of many caterers and the potential adverse effects on the thousands of students of the nation.

VAT payments are now overdue for October. Sources have indicated that NSDSL has given a draft letter to take to Inland Revenue asking for Interest & Penalty to be waived but it is uncertain that the letter will work.

Salaries & other expenses to be paid. Caterers are now crediting from all Suppliers and some have refused to give goods due to large amounts owed.

The facilities of many caterers will have to close from this month as they have no money to carry on. Most of these caterers supply approx. 1500 meals per day per caterer.

Funds are allocated from Min of Education to National Schools Dietary Services-NSDSL. There are about 87 approved caterers in the program nationally. Each facility will have at least 12 employees depending of number of meal done. Over 40 000 breakfasts with approx. 100,000 lunches per day served to approx. 820 schools.

NSDSL, cannot say to caterers when payment is expected and stated that the Ministry of Education has said they are awaiting the Budget to be passed and are still awaiting funds.

From the experience of caterers in the schools provide in rural areas, children come to school to get this meal, sometimes the only meal they eat. This is the risk the incompetence of the Rowley Administration has put the children of the nation.

The NSDSL may have breached the contract with caterers with the non-payment for services completed for the Ministry of Education.

Devant Maharaj

Former Government Minister
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FLASHBACK: Devant Maharaj with students of Tunapuna RC School trying out the new breakfast menu.

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