Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal Sir Hilary Beckles today said the Cave Hill Campus has fallen victim in its jubilee year to an “unprecedented tongue-lashing in the public’s space”.
Delivering remarks during the presentation of a natural gas car to the campus, Sir Hilary did not hide his disappointment, while stating that graduates of the university were the chief offenders.
“I must confess that I was very much concerned that the University of the West Indies in Barbados, while celebrating its 50th year of service to this country and region, received an unprecedented tongue-lashing in the public’s space and that has not been lost on me.
“It did not happen in our 30th year, it did not happen in our 40th year, it happened in our golden year, and that is very significant, and the historians will have a lot to say about that in the years to come,” Sir Hilary said.
“It is a very significant point that you should receive your greatest tongue-lashing on your own jubilee by your own graduates. It’s a sad situation but we are going to soldier on; we are going to keep pressing on,” he stressed.
The principal did not identify anyone by name, but he did make a point of saying that while Government had cut its funding to the institution, the university had prospered over the years, largely from relationships with the private sector.
He stressed that the university would continue to make its contribution to the country and region while referring to a report published by the campus two months ago, which he described as “a brilliant piece of economic analysis that demonstrated the tremendous impact Cave Hill as an enterprise made on the Barbados economy”.
The principal reminded that the analysis showed that the Cave Hill Campus alone generated $200 million of activity in the economy, and on average in the last ten years, between $70 and $80 million in foreign exchange.
“You are aware that that report was described by persons who should know better as propaganda and as public relations for an institution that needs public relations,” he said.
“If you are a citizen of society that dismisses facts, dismisses the truth, then you would realize that the quality of conversation within the society has diminished. No society can promote its interest either on an economic front, the social or the cultural front in such an environment,” he warned.
“At the moment, the environment in the society is in need of addressing. The environment is not only natural; the environment is intellectual, it is pedagogical and we need to improve
the quality of development,” he said.
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