The UWI Five Island Campus officially opens

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By Latrishka Thomas

Hundreds of attendees including residents, alumni and faculty members of the University of the West Indies (UWI) turned out yesterday to commemorate a proud moment in the history of Antigua and Barbuda — the ceremonial opening of the UWI’s fourth landed campus, Five Islands.

But leading up to the momentous occasion, the decision to convert the Five Islands institution into a university was met with quite a bit of turbulence. And at the formal opening, Minister of Education Michael Browne did not fall shy in describing just how much was endured to achieve the significant milestone.

“I remember we came down to crunch time and coming down to crunch time there oftentimes where many of you like me that time, recognized that you need the closure, you needed that final voice. The reality is it doesn’t matter how polished a diamond looks in the end a diamond has to go through struggle,” Browne said.

Moreover, in Browne’s opening remarks, he explained that the university is the government’s fulfillment of its mandate to build an economic powerhouse.

“The history of the University of the West Indies, the history of the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the Eastern Caribbean and by broader extension the Caribbean, married to the vision of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and government and people of Antigua and Barbuda produces and births a vision. That vision captured in very, very simple words: Our country shall and must be an economic powerhouse.

“In recognizing  the need and the efforts to build an economic powerhouse on behalf of the government and in recognition by the university that in order for the region – Antigua and Barbuda, the Eastern Caribbean and the broader Caribbean – to develop, we must first have a deeper and broader investment in ourselves and, as a result, the University of the West Indies meeting hand in hand with the wishes and eventually the demands of the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.”

The historic celebration was also observed in the presence of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles who remarked that the occasion merely signified a responsibility to the people of the Caribbean.

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