By Latrishka Thomas
The advent of the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus will afford opportunities to locals in and around the campus who wish to develop areas of commerce.
During yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Information Minister Melford Nicholas said persons wishing to build shops, restaurants and apartments near the campus are welcomed to do so.
“For those persons who were in the audience, or had the benefit of the presentations that were done on Tuesday, would recall that when the registrar, who was the Master of Ceremony spoke, he made reference to the fact that the population of Five Islands is but 500 persons and it is anticipated that over the next two or three semesters, that the population of the university will eclipse that. It means that there will be significant opportunity for commerce in that area to supply the students and faculty with services. So yes, there will be opportunities for that,” he said.
In fact, he said that where that inclination exists, residents can make full use of the Entrepreneurial Development Fund and other opportunities.
“One of the [things] that really comes to mind is the Entrepreneurial Development Fund. So we would say to the people who live in that area, if they wanted to enhance, to spruce up or to modify facilities in keeping with those potential demands certainly the opportunity is there for them to do it. So, the development of facilities to provide for rental accommodation or even to supply food or even transportation or whatever the services that may be required are certainly available to the people of Five Islands and the neighboring environment or for persons as well who may have under-utilized tracts of land for them to develop it,” Nicholas stated.
On another note, Nicholas encouraged educators to use this opportunity to get the requisite degrees that would make them exceptional candidates for campus.
“Where Antigua has the capabilities and the capacity, I believe that they will draw from those sources first because, obviously it will be far cheaper for the university to be able to recruit from the local market, but I think that there is already an immediate opportunity for persons to go a throttle up. If you are in the education system, to be able to get up to the level of some of these university programs, an undergraduate degree may not be sufficient. It may need some post-graduate and even some doctoral studies.”
However, as it stands, much of the university’s lecturers are being sourced from within their pool of candidates across the other three UWI campuses.
“I think they have drawn a number of lecturers from within the Antigua workforce, as much as they have been able, to meet that requirement. I think they have as well said that they are going to be drawing on lecturers and professors from within the University’s system elsewhere, from the other campus territories and from the Open Campus as well,” the Information Minister said.