While the final touches on the new University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands campus are being carried out ahead of the September 3rd opening, discussions are underway to establish the campus’ first dormitory within its first two years of operation.
During Monday’s press conference, UWI’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, told reporters that he and Prime Minister Gaston Browne spoke about this being realised within the first few years.
“I told the Prime Minister this morning, ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have our dormitories constructed in the first five years’, and he was flabbergasted! He said ‘are you speaking about the first year’?
“We know that the Prime Minister moves very quickly and he gave me the assurance that we are going to have our dormitories certainly within that period, but he will be pushing to have those dormitories up and running within the first two years,” the UWI professor said.
Sir Hilary also reiterated the reduction in financial costs for Antiguan and Barbudan students and parents that will accompany the opening of the UWI campus.
“The vast majority of Antiguans can now jump in their car, get in a minibus, go down to Five Islands and get their degree; and that will be a much cheaper proposition for the vast majority of Antiguans than to jump on LIAT, go down the islands, stay in dormitories and live in economies with higher costs.
“I have seen OECS students having to struggle with selling lands and mortgaging assets to raise cash; it is very difficult. So that elite of OECS students that travel across the region, we bless them, we need them, but we are also aware that they do not reflect the masses of people who cannot afford to jump on LIAT, to stay in dormitories, and to give up their jobs to get their degree,” he stated.