There haven’t been many reasons for Barbadians to smile in the past few months.
However, the latest news that housing in The Villages at Coverley for students attending Ross University School of Medicine has been completed and given a grade of A- by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, should make all Barbadians proud.
Four months ago, reports were circulating that Mottley and her Dominican counterpart Roosevelt Skerrit were at odds over the decision by the American university to relocate from Dominica, which it had called home for 40 years.
Once Skerrit put those untruths to bed, calling for an end to the “unwarranted verbal attacks” against the Barbados Government, plans were put in motion to find a suitable location for the 1 500 students and staff who would have to be housed here.
And while Prime Minister Mottley had vehemently lambasted Mark Maloney—the developer of The Villages at Coverley—on the political platform during previous election campaigns, the two joined forces to make what might have seemed to be the impossible a reality.
The location was quickly identified as the most suitable to accommodate the students and almost immediately the area was transformed into a construction zone.
“Let us be clear. In life you have to know when to move on and when to say ‘thank you’, and I say ‘thank you’ despite all of the lashes you would have gotten from me in the past on other things,” Mottley told Maloney during a recent tour of the area before shaking his hand.
It was refreshing to see two “foes” putting their differences aside for the sake of the country.
Maloney too praised Government for its role in helping to make the project a reality.
“. . . To get everything done in this time is phenomenal and shows what can happen in Barbados when everybody comes together. This is an amazing feat for Barbados and the Government of Barbados. I couldn’t have been done without the vision of the Prime Minister,” Maloney said.
Looking past the political agendas, the feat that was achieved in the past three months was no slight one. It was a perfect example of what can be achieved when the public sector, private sector and Government work together in harmony.
Chief executive officer of Ross University’s parent company Adtalem Global Education, Lisa Wardell, was on hand to view the finished product, and from the looks of things she was quite impressed.
With students scheduled to begin arriving in the island from Friday, Barbados is also set to receive an enormous economic boost. In fact, Mottley compared their presence to the equivalent of “75 000 seven-day tourists”.
Barbados’ ability to facilitate a project of this magnitude in such a short space of time should only bode well for the future, particularly since Government has signalled its intention to be a hub for medical and educational services.
In fact, it has seemingly already caught the eyes of another American university.
During the tour at The Villages at Coverley, the Prime Minister revealed that Government was in talks with Cambridge University, a nursing school that has an interest in setting up a base in Barbados.
This most recent accomplishment further proves that Barbados is comprised of enterprising, driven and bold persons who possess the necessary skills and talents to get the job done.
In too many instances, procrastination seems to be the norm rather than the exception. One example of that would be the island at the highway entrance to The Villages at Coverley, which had drawn the ire of the Barbadian public for some time. As part of the renovations being done for the Ross students, a roundabout has been constructed to allow for easier and safer access into the residential community.
Mottley revealed that the much talked about island would be removed within “a week or two”. Barbadians had been calling for the removal of that structure since 2015, following a serious accident that claimed the life of a schoolboy.
It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for some action to be taken, but it is yet another benefit of the arrival of Ross University School of Medicine in Barbados.