Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit today sought to assure Dominicans enrolled at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies that their studies will not be compromised due to the challenges caused by Hurricane Maria.
Students have been outlining concerns about their ability to complete courses, given that their parents at home are now focused on rebuilding their homes and lives after the category five storm destroyed the majority of houses on the island in September.
Skerrit, who made a brief stop here this morning on his way home from meetings abroad, told the students at the Cultural Centre in Black Rock that his government will do all in its power to keep Dominicans studying at home and abroad enrolled in current programmes, whether it be at primary, secondary or tertiary level.
“We do not want any student dropping out because [his or her] parents cannot pay the fees … so let the word go forth from here this morning that your continued studies here in Barbados is not under threat, and will not be frustrated or terminated by any action of my government,” Skerrit said, adding that their skills will be needed to rebuild the country.
“We need you to complete your areas of study and come back home and help build the new Dominica. Do not waste … this opportunity to develop yourselves and equip yourselves for life’s challenges in the third decade of the 21st century.”
He also appealed to the students to work with the government in “easing the strain and overall toll” that the current challenges being faced by the students will have on the public purse, and he warned that his administration will not tolerate negative behaviour or those who squander their opportunities for higher education.
“We will negotiate with your various institutions of learning; we’ll also appeal to the kindness of your host country and its citizens and government; we’ll contribute as much as we can to the upkeep of your education. But I want this morning to appeal to you to not flaunt or take the opportunity for granted…
“The government of Dominica commits this morning to helping those who are serious about their education, through to the very end. But by the same token, I can give no such assurance to those whose attitude and behaviour is not consistent with what we would hope and wish for… There will be zero tolerance for bad attitudes and behaviours. One strike and you’re guaranteed to be out, full stop,” Skerrit said.