It has been ten years since Indrani Maharaj-Manwah retired from the teaching service.
And it’s now nine years she has been waiting on the full sum of the gratuity promised to her.
On September 17, 2010, the former English/French teacher received a letter from the Education Ministry saying she has been approved for a gratuity of $208,240.88.
To this date, Maharaj-Manwah said she only got around $80,000.
The former Teacher 3, told Guardian Media that she was told the Ministry of Education needed to investigate an administrative error. It’s been nine years now since that investigation commenced.
“I was sent a letter that there was an overpayment and they had to sort it out, they withheld around $120,000, they told me I had to request a write off because something happened and there was an administrative error, but I did everything they asked me to do, all the paperwork, letters, request for leave, but the administrative error is not my fault.”
Maharaj- Manwah says she was not trying to claim money that’s not hers, but after nine years she believes she deserves closure.
“I’m trying to make sure that I don’t owe them and they don’t owe me.”
The Orchard Gardens, Chaguanas resident said after a long period of hearing nothing from the Education Ministry she took up the matter again last year and has been frequently visiting the Ministry’s Head Office along St Vincent Street in Port-of-Spain.
Frustration eventually brought her a few metres across the roadway to Guardian Media’s Head Office.
On Monday she was again told that they are trying to source her paperwork and would get back to her within a month. This is a story she’s grown accustomed to hearing.
“I really didn’t want it to reach to this stage in a public forum, unfortunately, it came to that.”
Maharaj-Manwah said what the Ministry was doing was a strategy to delay payments.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association, Lynsley Doodhai, said while it has been a pervasive problem in the past, the Education Ministry has put systems in place to help reduce the time the Ministry takes to make payments. He said although Maharaj-Manwah was not a member of TTUTA he would investigate her claims on her behalf.
Guardian Media also provided the Education Ministry with her details but an official said sometimes the problem could be at the Comptroller of Accounts at the Finance Ministry.