The University of the West Indies (UWI) is calling on Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments to honour their outstanding debts to the region’s premiere tertiary institution.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, speaking to reporters on Wednesday night on his return from the 29th CARICOM Inter-Sessional Summit in Haiti, said that the leaders had met with UWI officials, including the Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles, in Port au Prince to discuss the issue.
“They came to make a presentation to the heads indicating that the university has very serious financial challenges to meet which require urgent attention and they implored the countries that are in arrears or those that have accumulated arrears that the university accounts require that those arrears be dealt with in some substantial way so as to not have their accounts presented in a manner that damages its ability to run its operations on sound financial practice, to put it mildly,” Rowley said.
He said the leaders agreed, given the case made out by the UWI, that “states will pay attention to the university’s plight.
“I expect that the university will visit Trinidad and Tobago in the next two weeks or so to have bilateral discussions because the discussions with respect to the various countries, who owes what and who could do what with respect with respect to the debt will be handled on a bilateral basis,” Rowley said.
“So each country will talk with the university to see what can be done to bring about, pretty much a bailout from the situation they are in at the moment,” he added.
Rowley did not discuss the amount owed to the UWI that has its main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.