Innotech Services Ltd is clearing the air on its involvement in the construction of the Nelson Mandela Park, denying that it’s doing it to clear a debt to the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
In fact, says chief executive officer Martin Dasilva, Innotech remains a major benefactor, second only to Sagicor, of the campus and the construction of the park named in honour of late freedom fighter Nelson Mandela is one of the examples of its commitment to further developing the institution.
It had been reported in another section of the media that Innotech owed the university and had become involved in the project to write off the debt.
However, Dasilva said in an interview with Barbados TODAY that “the financing of the Nelson Mandela Park was misunderstood”.
“Our donations is not an obligation; it is a gift to the campus. I think that principal of the Cave Hill Campus, Sir Hilary Beckles, will ultimately come out and indicate that the financing of the project was misunderstood. I am not terribly concerned about the misunderstanding,” he said.
“Making a public statement on the company’s financial contributions to an institution is not something that we get out in the public and push. We do not market such things significantly, largely because we believe that when you make a contribution you should not speak about it,” Dasilva added as he explained his company’s reluctance to issue an earlier clarification.
He noted that the project was started by his company in September last year. Dasilva said Innotech has been receiving numerous calls from the private and public sector expressing an interest in understanding the project.
“It is such an iconic project, being named after anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela, that many people want to identify with it. More and more people are calling expressing an interest in the project. Only recently we received information and have communication from two major international entities that are interested in making contributions to the project. We hope to complete the project before Emancipation Day this year. When completed I think the park will be a place like no other,” Dasilva added.
Giving the background of his company’s involvement with the Cave Hill Campus, the CEO recalled that in 2008, chairman of the Campus Council, Paul Altman, had invited his company to be one of the benefactors of the campus.
Citing a specific case where Innotech Services Ltd made a significant financial contribution to the campus, Dasilva said: “Our team approached the Cave Hill Campus with concerns over the dearth of trained personnel in the construction industry and offered to collaborate in the development of a professional degree in construction management. By 2011, we were able to launch the new MSc in building and construction management. Today we are extremely proud to be associated with and to have initiated a programme that will deliver the project leaders in the industry of tomorrow.”
Dasilva pointed out that his company sponsored $1 million towards the educational programme and the contribution was expected to be delivered in services and cash.
“It is not an obligation and it is certainly not a debt on the company. It is a gift, a donation from an industry leader to an educational institution. That is our way of giving back to the community,” the CEO stressed.