Within a matter of days, the government will know whether Antigua and Barbuda will become the fourth campus territory for the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Prime Minister Gaston Browne told radio listeners on Saturday that the final decision should be communicated to the country between Monday and Tuesday of this week. He also stated that the government will be moving “very quickly” to ensure that all the supporting facilities are in place.
“We have to make sure that the registry is in place to get the additional lecturers that are required and the necessary broadband facilities. In fact, we have already started to enhance the infrastructure at the various facilities to support and improve the broadband coverage,” Browne said during an interview on his radio station.
He also expressed confidence that the facility will be opened in time for the new academic year which begins in September.
“This campus is part of the developmental trust for my government to make sure that we can bring affordable and accessible tertiary education to the people of Antigua and Barbuda and the OECS. So, we are not relenting on this issue. We know that there will be teething problems but we are prepared to deal with them as they arise,” Browne stated.
The government has received stiff opposition to the methodologies that are being used to set up the fourth landed campus at Five Islands, at a facility which had been purpose-built to house a secondary school. Many people have called on the government to re-think the strategy and develop a strategic programme before moving forward.
However, PM Browne has been resolute in his public statements that a university campus will be opened in September, whether or not it bears the UWI brand.