Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 27th 2014 Contents 12 UWI TODAY -- SUNDAY 27th APRIL, 2014
The University of the West Indies, as the premier
regional institution should be front and centre in this
interchange. I should not have to look to the University of
Florida or the University of Miami alone for the expertise
to develop some of our own institutions.
As we speak, we are seeking to develop the Bahamas
Agricultural and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI). is
is being developed in Andros, which is the largest island
in e Bahamas. is is a landmass which is larger than
the island of Trinidad but with a population of less than
14,000 people. We are seeking to make a concerted e ort
for e Bahamas to develop its agricultural potential, and
train farmers and shermen who will not only conduct
research and development but will grow food for our
country. is is a determined e ort to make the country
more self-su cient in food production.
An expert from the Caribbean was central to
developing our ideas on the subject. However, more of
this can and should be done.
I think this expertise can be supplied from the region,
particularly in the area of tourism which is now the
premier industry, supplying billions of dollars to the gross
domestic product of the region. Tourism is very much
our bread and butter. e University should be front and
centre in the forward movement of our tourism product,
particularly as the product moves to an even higher end. It
should be front and centre in preparing the management
talent and in designing synergies so that our countries
can develop and obtain more from the tourism product
in a sustainable manner.
e all-important area of climate change and the
management of the environment is another area where
the regional University can help. It is clear from the
latest report on climate change that unless there is some
dramatic turnaround in the policies of consumption on
energy we are in for dramatic shi s in the climate: longer
drought cycles and more intense rains and hurricanes.
This poses life-changing dangers, especially to
low-lying island nations like The Bahamas. If sea
level rises over one metre there will be catastrophic
I am advised that in Dominica there is already
evidence that the growing cycles are changing because
the periods of rainfall are increasing.
Our scientists and academics should be front and
centre in the management of these issues for us. is
should include not only research and development and
advice on what we can do to ameliorate the e ects of
climate change but also how we can get the capital to
manage the issues that we face.
I believe in education. I have already spoken about
the development of BAMSI in e Bahamas. BAMSI is
just one thrust in the area of education. We have also
implemented a new National Training Agency to prepare
our people for the phenomenal demand which will come
during the next few years for workers in the high-end
tourism eld. is year e Bahamas will substantially
complete a multi-billion dollar tourist product at Cable
Beach in New Providence which is expected to create
5,000 new jobs. It is expected to open in December of
this year. We have to be proactive in ensuring that we can
meet the demand for labour in that facility. at is not
the only hotel facility creating new jobs but it shows you
the magnitude of the issue for us.
ere is also afoot the development of the University
of e Bahamas. A decision was taken by the government
in 2007 to move toward a University of e Bahamas,
upgrading the present College of The Bahamas to
university status by the year 2015. We are well on our
way. Clearly, there are synergies between the development
of this university and the University of e West Indies
which should be developed.
I never miss the opportunity however to make the
point that there must be a concerted e ort in all of our
societies to encourage men and boys to get an education.
It is a cause of serious concern to us in e Bahamas
and I am advised throughout the region. Too many of
our men and boys are choosing not to keep up, to drop
out and not to engage in the work and development of
society. We must make them a special project, even as
we continue to encourage the enviable success which
women have and continue to make to the development
of our societies.
Faced with these new challenges, e Bahamas and
all CARICOM members need to invest in more research
capacity to anticipate and avoid these new forms of
challenges and to inform the making of public policy.
e Bahamas Government recognizes that prosperity
is linked to national capacity to meet global challenges,
innovate and develop new products and services.
erefore, e Bahamas Government has determined to
re-position e Bahamas, which has a global reputation
for its tourism and nancial services industry, as a centre
of excellence in tertiary education, training, research,
food security and ecological sustainability.
While we are fully committed to the University of
e Bahamas, we recognize that one regional university
cannot meet our needs to build the capital of The
Bahamas to better de ne our reality and increase our
competitiveness in the global arena.
The Government recognizes the importance of
higher education to sustainable economic, social and
cultural development. In common with other countries,
graduates with university level quali cations reduce the
need for public expenditure by making less use of public
services. ey also create employment opportunities in all
sectors of the economy, from education, to construction,
to health care.
As such, they have become in many ways, the motor
which drives the economy. Consequently, e Bahamas
Government has undertaken to ensure the widest
possible access to higher education. Consistent with the
aim of increasing the number of people with a university
education, the Government is encouraging the College
of e Bahamas to diversify its course o ering and to
increase the number of graduate levels programmes.
We have therefore mandated that the College of
The Bahamas transitions by September 2015 to the
University of e Bahamas to support and drive national
development through education, research, innovation
and service by o ering programmes grounded in the
unique features of the Bahamian environment, economy
e Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister and
Minister of Finance of the Commonwealth of e Bahamas
As part of its ongoing CARICOM focus
in the Distinguished Open Lecture
Series of e UWI St Augustine, the
Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, Prime
Minister and Minister of Finance of the
Commonwealth of e Bahamas, spoke
on April 7, 2014, on " e Role of e
Bahamas in Caricom: My perspective on
where we are going." We carry an excerpt
from his speech here, and the full text can
be seen on our website.
e Bahamas in
Please visit our website at http://sta.uwi.edu/uwiToday/default.asp for the full text of the lecture
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