Questions were raised in Parliament today about a gift of 40 acres of land at Dukes Plantation, St Thomas given to the University of the West Indies (UWI) four years ago, and whether the learning institution would put it to proper use.
Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central James Paul insisted that the land, donated by philanthropist Eddie Edghill and his family, should only be used for agricultural purposes.
However, while stating there was no clear indication of UWI’s intentions, the Government backbencher suggested that the university was looking to build on it.
“I continue to plead with the University of the West Indies about that land at Dukes in St Thomas. You know up to this day there has been no active consultation with the agricultural sector on how we should proceed. I get the impression that all they think about is they get a facility and all they want to do is to put buildings on it,” he said in his contribution to the debate on a resolution on the Green Economy Scoping Study.
Back in September 2013, Sir Hilary Beckles, who was principal of the Cave Hill Campus at the time, had indicated that the land would be used to establish a Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship.
Paul today tacitly criticized that statement, saying the country needed “crops in the ground” not buildings on it.
“We have to be careful that when we get agricultural land that even the institutions that are suppose to set an example don’t turn around and do the same foolishness, because in truth and in fact what is needed in Barbados is what is called field research stations for agriculture crops and it don’t take business to go on there, because what you need is crops in the ground, not buildings on the ground,” the parliamentarian and Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society stressed.