The University of the West Indies (UWI) today came under sharp criticism from Government Senator Jeptor Ince, who knocked the institution for its failure to take the lead on marijuana research.
Declaring his disappointment, Ince told the Upper House Barbados and the rest of the region were at risk of being left behind if the educational institution continued to focus on some of the traditional subjects it offered.
He insisted that the UWI had to look at research in medicine as a way to boost its revenues.
“We have this talent at the UWI and we should have been at the forefront of marijuana uses for diseases, for medical purposes. We should have been at the forefront,” he emphasized.
Speaking during debate on the Caribbean Accreditation Authority Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (Incorporation) Bill, 2016, Ince said it was clear the marijuana industry was exploding, particularly in the United States, and the region should not be caught off guard.
“I am of the opinion that once the United States reaches the stage where they have found the remedies in marijuana for a lot of diseases –– because right now in most of the states they are learning the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes –– they are going to issue licences . . . to bring that product into countries and we are going to be left standing here saying if we had known.
“I am confident the research needs to be done; not only that but in other areas. So don’t let us sit back . . . let us implement with haste these things that are important.”
The Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance also suggested that the university should offer a degree in automotive electronics, expanding on the course currently being offered at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.
“When you have certain type of vehicles, you have to wait for them to bring a professional from outside Barbados to deal with your vehicle and sometimes it can take ten months, three months or a week, and then there is the cost of having it done.
“Education is an investment . . . . We have produced some of the best academics anywhere in the world and I am still bothered that we have a UWI . . . that is not doing enough research,” he complained.