Newton first to break ranks with top UPP officials on UWI

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The United Progressive Party (UPP) caretaker for the All Saints West constituency, Lamin Newton, is the first member of the UPP to publicly break ranks and support the government’s ambition to establish a fourth landed campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) here in Antigua.

Newton, speaking on the OBSERVER AM programme yesterday, said he fully supported the government’s plan, despite top officials within his party arguing that the country is not ready for the campus.

Newton added, “As a society, we have to do what is in the best interest of the people in this nation. If this means we have to support the government on an issue, so be it. When it comes to the issue of the university, I support this initiative.”

Newton argued that even though there are

concerns about the readiness of the university to be officially opened on September 1 at the campus in Five

Islands, this should not

take away from the fact that the university should be opened.

“People just want to learn. It does not matter where the campus is or where the facility is, people are not concerned about that. Even if you put the campus in Bethesda, people will go,” he said.

Newton’s comments followed the Prime Minister’s claim that the University Council is playing politics.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that the assessments conducted by the UWI’s technical committee have shown that the campus facilities are ready.

“When the University Council met a few weeks ago, they turned this thing into a political issue because all the University Council was required to do was to ratify the decision for the opening up of the campus,” Browne said.

Browne said he received reports that members of the Jamaica delegation to the University Council stated that “If there is a need, Jamaica would expand their campus” while the Barbados delegation was concerned about the impact of students from the OECS choosing to attend the Antigua campus instead of the Cave Hill campus.

“When you are making a political decision to undermine a development policy of my government, I have to be firm,” he added.

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