OECS to prepare paper on Fourth Landed campus


The St. Lucia-based Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission has been asked to prepare a paper regarding the establishment of the Fourth Landed campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Antigua and Barbuda.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking at the end of the two-day OECS summit, told reporters that the OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, had been asked to “develop a paper for further consideration, perhaps at our next meeting so that we can look at the structure and to make sure that it is firmly established as a sub-regional institution.

Last weekend, Browne said that he had received a call from the UWI Vice Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles who informed “that the members of the University Council have now unanimously approved the fourth landed campus for Antigua and Barbuda,” Browne said, adding that following the announcement by UWI, an implementation committee will be established by the university.“The last thing we want is a situation where it is considered to be exclusively an Antigua and Barbuda campus,” Browne said, acknowledging that the authorities here are still awaiting the official word from the UWI on the matter.

Browne said there is a recognition that while the campus is based here “that we have to carry the lion’s share of the expenses, providing the physical campus facilities and so on and we are committed to do so”.

He said the new facility at Five Islands had been built at a cost of US$25 million and “we are about to programme another tranche from the Chinese to construct additional facilities totalling another US$20 million”.

Browne said that the government has also been upgrading the other sub-campuses and that while Antigua and Barbuda recognises it has to be the “anchor, and to spend the necessary monies to ensure we have a successful campus…we also will be proposing that perhaps the countries within the sub-region that have Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIP) that maybe they could add a flat fee of perhaps US$5,000 per application to help to raise funding to support the other countries within the sub-region who would like to at least cover the economic costs for their students”.

Antigua and Barbuda is among several OECS member countries that have a CIP that provides for citizenship for foreign investors in return for a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the islands in the sub-region.

Browne said that in any event, “we have asked for a special carve out from UWI to ensure that we do not replicate the bureaucracy that exists in the other campus territories and that we do not have excessive costs.

“We want to make sure we have increased enrolments and increase graduations. We want to make sure the fees are truly affordable in order to increase the accessibility to university degree recognising that we have been left behind for decades.

“There’s empirical evidence (to show) that the OECS region has been an underserved region. We have one of the lowest levels of enrolment and graduates within this hemisphere. So we have to correct that. The very CARICOM treaty does call for special and differential treatment for special consideration be given to the LDCs (Lesser Developed Countries) and clearly this is one area in which we have asked for special carve out in order to satisfy the human resource development requirements of the people of the OECS sub region”.

The authorities are hoping to have the campus opened by September with at least 1,00 students.

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  1. A man with many plans. The OECS must indeed be glad that they have this man for a year at the helm. Perhaps they will vote him in for another year in the end.

  2. A man with his hands full with the acquisition of LiAT and all. Hope his hands don’t overflow. Wish him luck with all his ventures.

  3. Done start to beg the other islands for money and contributions for his new UWI campus. Lord have mercy. The cost of this new university together with Gaston’s buy-out of Scotia Bank, buy-out of insolvent LIAT and buy-out of Digicel will surely send us all to the pits and bottom of debtor’s hell. It sure is easy to spend other people’s money.

  4. I support PM Browne in this endeavor, but I strongly caution about the costs and financial commitment that the government of Antigua and Barbuda will be burdened with for decades to come. I still do not understand why UWI isn’t making a large amount of financial commitment itself for the privilege to open a new campus in Antigua. Usually when major universities get the opportunity to expand, they will be responsible for making the majority of the financial investment themselves. UWI is getting too much of a ‘free ride’ here!

    • This new UWI campus was purely Gaston’s idea, not UWI. If he wants it, he has to pay for it. Antigua and the other islands already owe UWI many millions of dollars in arrears for the existing campuses. You think Gaston should be allowed to insist on a new UWI campus in Antigua and UWI should then pay for it? Come on!

  5. The PM is a gift to the nation. He makes us all proud. Although this is a great idea and a wonderful effort, there is no way 1000 students will be on board for September (3 month away). There is no way it can happen. We need more time, at least another year to fully develop this concept and get a faculty and staff. Most university students already have their plans set for September in any one of a number of established schools around the world. The idea is good, and it is right, but we’ll need more time.

    • You have not stated where the millions are going to come from to make these secondary school buildings into a university and employ the staff to lecture and run it. There is no benefactor for this university so the fees would need to be substantial and still will not cover the costs. Fees in the USA range from approximately US$30k per year to US$70k per year and these universities also have benefactors. Are we, the people and businesses going to be expected to pick up all these costs from even more taxation that is already choking us and making basic necessities such as food so prohibitive to buy? IMO the lunacy (manic purchasing of LIAT, Scotia bank, UWI and who knows what else) needs to be stopped before it all completely backfires and takes Antigua into hole from which it cannot return.

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