by Donella Hosten
Senator Franka Bernadine of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed concern about the delay of the University of the West Indies (The UWI) project in Hope, St Andrew.
According to Bernadine, the 89 acres of land was provided in December 2012 to The UWI under the NDC administration, to build a campus. Preliminary proposals include a multi-purpose site encompassing teaching and learning facilities, conference and event facilities, as well as an agricultural research station.
To date, no further development has been made, and she marks this as a “huge disappointment.” “It is therefore extremely disappointing that at this stage, putting in place a regional tertiary institution like The University of the West Indies is still without the thrust that it requires,” Bernadine added, as she stressed the importance of tertiary education.
At the time of the gift to The UWI, then Head of the Grenada Open Campus site, Dr Curtis Jacobs said, “This land grant is the culmination of more than 6 years of negotiations over the life of the previous and present Governments of Grenada. It is in keeping with the recommendations of the 2005 UWI Chancellor’s Report on Governance to have a ‘university campus presence’ in each of the UWI-12 countries and marks the beginning of a new era in the relationship between The UWI and the Government of Grenada in particular, and the UWI-12 countries in general.”
After numerous statements were made claiming that the UWI project was put on hold by the Keith Mitchell-led administration, approximately 2 years ago the Government Information Service (GIS) issued a publication stating otherwise. The publication consisted of statements made by UWIs then Principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau, indicating that allegations of the delay being caused by government are totally untrue.
The UWI is the premier institution for the region. From the project’s inception in 2012, St Lucia and St Vincent have completed their projects. Senator Bernadine opined that this is something that should be given more attention. “The fact that we are not facilitating this tertiary level as we should is of great concern.”
During last week’s Post-Cabinet Briefing, Senator Winston Garraway said officials from the university came here and indicated that they had not secured necessary finances and other resources to proceed as yet. Garraway affirmed his government’s commitment to the project, but, as it now stands, the matter remains in the hands of the University.
A source at The UWI Open Campus Grenada noted that as graduation would be in Grenada this year, she is certain that this issue would then be addressed.