July 16, 2019
Paying a courtesy call on Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd on Monday, July 16, 2019 was Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Robert Bermudez. Among the delegation were UWI President Missouri Sherman, Alumni Affairs Director Celia Davidson, UWI Head of Hospitality Dr. Michelle McLeod, UWI Bursar Howard Pearce, UWI Alumnus and Secretary Troy Oliver and UWI Alumnus Dr. Robin Roberts. Ministry of Education (MOE) officials present included Permanent Secretary Lorraine Armbrister, Under Secretary Serethea Clarke, Deputy Director of Education for Curriculum Sharon Poitier, and Financial Controller Joan Darling.
The Chancellor deemed it a privilege to be obliged by the Minister, and noted that it is his second visit to The Bahamas in which he has come to coalesce with UWI alumni. He remarked that there are a number of issues to be addressed in regards to the University and Bahamian students. Consequently, he invited the Minister’s perspective on those matters. According to Chancellor Bermudez, top on the list is the need for the government to see a relationship between UWI and the University of The Bahamas (UB) as a collaborative endeavor rather than a competitive nature. Minister Lloyd assured that he would do whatever is in his control to develop a working relationship between the two entities in an attempt to advance the nation’s youth and the country as a whole.
Calling it another “elephant in the room”, Minister Lloyd addressed the concern of subvention payments for Bahamian students attending UWI. He suggested that there is an uncertainty of whether all students who are receiving those subventions are actually Bahamians. Both the Minister and Chancellor agreed that a system needs to be put in place to ensure that only qualified students are accepted, and benefitting from such subventions.
Meanwhile Minister Lloyd noted the need for students to explore other professional options outside of being medical practitioners. He referenced physiotherapy, radiology, among others. This especially due to the fact that recently the government has financed the schooling of hundreds of junior Bahamian doctors who have graduated, and are unable to practice in The Bahamas due to lack of available positions.
During the meeting, it was noted by Dr. Roberts that UWI Bahamas Chapter is in the process of mobilizing plans to build a facility to accommodate all of its students.
UWI is ranked among the top five percent of best universities in the world.
Going forward, the Minister and UWI Chancellor agreed to have the necessary discussions.