Following his very recent public spat with former principal Sir Hilary Beckles, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is now reporting that the relationship between his Government and the University of the West Indies (UWI) is in good shape.
Stuart gave this assurance following a courtesy call last week by the new Principal of UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, at his official residence, Ilaro Court.
This comes of the heels of recent remarks made by the former principal, Sir Hilary, who had complained publicly just before leaving Cave Hill to take up the job of Vice Chancellor at the UWI, that Government’s decision to cut education spending had set the institution back 20 years. Sir Hilary had also called it an assault on working-class women.
In response, Stuart delivered a severe tongue-lashing to Sir Hilary, describing him as disrespectful and accusing him of trying to run an alternative Government to his
ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) from Cave Hill.
However, during his meeting with Barriteau, the Prime Minister expressed regret that some issues which arose between Government and UWI over the past few months were played out in the media. He said both he and Barriteau had agreed that this was not the way to conduct business.
Stressing that his Cabinet was committed to the success of the University, the Prime Minister said: “I want to assure you that Government is very much on board with the work of the UWI, and wherever possible, we will facilitate the University’s work to make your task as easy as possible and assist it in achieving the highest standards in Barbados and the Caribbean.”
Acknowledging that Barbados had been going through serious economic challenges, the Prime Minister expressed confidence, however, that the country would overcome the trials.
“I never mistake a moment in time for eternity. We are much more than we are going through. I see this as a test of our resilience and strength of our character and we need to see beyond the current circumstances,” he said.
While extending congratulations to Professor Barriteau on her “richly deserved elevation”, Stuart described her as “a hard worker with fertile intelligence and therefore well equipped to discharge her responsibility”.