UWI Five Islands Principal says more than 90% of Antigua and Barbuda’s workforce have “no credentials at all”


The University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Densil A. Williams said the majority of workers in Antigua and Barbuda do not have “credentials.”

“One of the things that we found when we got here is that in Antigua and Barbuda, of the workforce, only less than 10% of them have any form of certification beyond secondary school, less than 10%.

“So, we’re looking at a 21,000-strong members of the workforce who have no credentials at all,” Professor Williams said.

The Antigua and Barbuda-based campus will launch a Lifelong Learning Unit in the 2021/2022 academic year to address the issue.

Paula Lee was appointed Executive Director of the programme.

“We have now started to go out to our businesses, and private and governmental sector and say to them, find your people who need credentials and we are going to now come with you and we’re going to partner with you to provide the training so that they can move up the value chain in whatever jobs that they are doing,” Professor Williams explained.

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  1. Hmm. Will be looking to be a part of their productive force. I hope having an MBA helps. Now, which percent do I fall in?

    • Mr. Byam I will go on record and say that Harold Lovell had a better High School Education than Donald Trump. If I have a bias because Lovell went Grammar School so be it. Princess Margaret and Antigua Girl High provided that also. They’re competing all over the world. They would have had their education under ALP.

      So we have a problem. Brain drain? Social Media? I’m not giving the politicians a pass, there are always room for improvement. We have to look on Govt, parenting, religion, social media for a solution; the sooner the better.

      • Mr. Moore,
        The brain drain is a separate issue. Public education in this country is the worst in the WI, and the ALP is 100% responsible for that. The ALP has never valued education and they’ve imported a foreign underclass. We have teachers with fake degrees, but the ALP doesn’t even request official transcripts. It’s a big red mess.

  2. The reason for such an observation is because in this country IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW. IT’S WHO YOU KNOW. While there are many persons in the workforce with no certification, there are many more who are perfectly qualified but are turned away due to those in certain positions feeling threatened that they will outshine them.

    • God is in control, you are so correct. There are educated people here with credentials but we don’t get picked. Either due to friend and company policies or they are not willing to pay us.

  3. I agree with the principal because most persons in the government sector are appointed based on who they know or who they voted for not because they have credentials. Some never even completed a technical vocational school to be certified in a particular field.


    • You must be one without credentials as people like you are always ready to criticize people with post secondary education. Antigua can never be an economic powerhouse when people like you dominate. Check the level of education of the citizens of rapidly developing countries. Antigua has too many ignorant individuals.

  5. Mr Byram, and how many Upp dragged in when they got into power? You’ll always including politics and not thinking before you’ll speak. We all knew these people only got these jobs because a who them nuh. You’ll need to stop it.

    • Who established the technical college and whose idea was the senior UWI campus? Public education is always about politics. The clue is in the name.

      • The University idea came from Lester Bird in 2007-08 when the ABLP started the 2009 Election campaign, upp’s Jackie quinn then started to say that they going to do that too.
        Before the 2004 General Elections, formerly Youth Skills now of a new name gave a stipen to students in ABLP time before upp started charging the same students to attend. Hotel training School was also started by Ablp …
        just hush

  6. That not true plenty dem hab credentials he nah see all dem graduates from the university of Facebook and Google that seems to know more that the doctors scientist and other experts!!

    • You no haffu hide on that. On a serious note something happened that need to be fixed and the solution can’t be all government. Parenting, social media, brain drain, religion etc. The Antigua Grammar School, Princess Margaret and Antigua Girls High provided top class FREE Education. It’s students are competing all over the world. I will put my neck on the block that Harold Lovell had a better High School Education than Donald Trump.

  7. If he is right, there is much to learn from the people of this country.
    Once upon a time those 90% made this country into the leading Caribbean country.

    These 90% showed the rest of the Caribbean with all their credentials the way forward…..

    The good gentleman must know the constitution sets the credentials for political leadership which is sane, over 18, and literate.

    • I just made the point that Antigua Grammar School, Princess Margaret and Antigua Girls High provided top notch FREE Education. It’s student are competing all over the world. I do not know PM Browne High School Status but I will put my head on the block that Harold Lovell had a better High School Education than Donald Trump. So what happened and what’s the solution? Government, parents, clergy, social media, brain drain are some of the things that will have to be looked at.

  8. I have a degree and I have worked hard to build my career, assisted by people who have had a lot of faith in me. I know there are those who can do the work without the paper but the way the world is right now that just gives them an excuse to give you the work and someone else the money. Knowledge is necessary but the credential gives you that edge as well as making you more marketable and versatile. I advise everyone, invest in your job but invest in yourself as well. If what you do now is all you can do then that might be all you will ever do.

  9. He is correct…as an Antiguan I have to agree that the government (no particular party) did not and have never sponsored education of nationals as Bradshaw did for St. Kitts in the 70’s. Today the average Kittitian have at least a Bachelors Degree, that’s how they were able to raise the social economic level of the country. This is the trajectory that I witnessed attending UVI where the majority of students were from St. Kitts and Nevis. There Antiguans were the minority, and many of us were raised on the VI. It says something about the thinking and expectation of the leadership in the country that produce great scholars but pick and chose who to advance. There are many of us with MBA, MPA, and PHD who are discouraged or not invited to apply. I hope this realization will create an opportunity for people to advance their education and training.

  10. The days of a mechanic hitting a luxury cruise ship’s engine with a hammer to get it working again and charging $1.00 for labor and $99,999.00 for experience is sadly coming to an end. Even a professional Clown needs proper, internationally recognized, credentials to be a Clown.

  11. All aspect of government have to take the blame for this. There’s not enough FREE educational design projects to facilitate the underprivileged children… Every year there’s so many student graduating from high school and won’t be able to pursue further education because they simply can’t afford it..

    • You are so correct, these are the future leaders who are overlooked. Where are the scholarships and community inventive? If the government sponsors your education, you must return and work for three to five years, or reimburse the fund. This is the carrot on the stick that many countries use to retain the talented and credential professionals.

  12. Notes From A Native Son Of The Rock! “Studyation Beats Education!” has lamentably been ingrained in the National Discourse and Actions!

    For Decades many have written, commented and offered suggestions to change the condition which The University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Densil A. Williams has identified!

    This mere voice in the wilderness has been berated, negated and told on many occasions by many of mi gud frens most notably, the Haitian Hero who would gleefully proclaim that no one is listening or paying heed to the data and information which was provided and lamented the neglected education to be found in the people!

    The discourse and actions of many on the Pandemic amplify the fear, ignorance, poor cognitive thinking, lack of research skills and scientific deficiencies within the society!

    “The Afrocentric method considers that no phenomena can be apprehended adequately without locating it first. A phenom must be studied and analyzed in relationship to psychological time and space. It must always be located. This is the only way to investigate the complex interrelationships of science and art, design and execution, creation and maintenance, generation and tradition, and other areas bypassed by theory.” – Dr. Molefi Asante, Afrocentricity: The Theory Of Social Change! The Good Professor Williams has as is expected of one in his position has identified a problem and has set about to effect a change using the resources of his institution! It would have been most helpful, a better learning opportunity and teachable contribution, given the resources at his institution if he could provide comparative data for CARICOM and especially the English Speaking Caribbean devoid of spin by the National Governments.

    We as a People of African Descent must also understand our History and how we got to the position identified! This mere voice in the wilderness wishes to go back in time to Emancipation! The Planters in Antigua did not engage in the Apprenticeship (not to be confused with today’s Apprenticeship Programs) Program for two reasons: they wanted to save money and they considered many of the enslaved to be skilled professionals! Only in Antigua you say! In 1967, The Government of Antigua and Barbuda purchased the land from the Planters! Only in Antigua you say save for Haiti! North Atlantics advanced Tourism and practiced colonial managerial business models with expatriate managers and local manual labour workers with basic hospitality training! The Sandaled Buccaneer was the major Privateer proponent of such a Profitable Business Model! Agriculture plummeted as Tourism increased and the Villages emptied as many flocked to St.John’s and its environs so much so that two thirds of the population now reside within those demarcations! The Political, Economic and Education strategies and initiatives, while there were some progressive advances have not made major shifts to change the socio-cultural, technological and environmental paradigm.

    Today, it can be seen that “the intellectual behaves objectively like a vulgar opportunist. His maneuvering, in fact, is still at work. The people would never think of rejecting him or cutting the ground from under his feet. What the people want is for everything to be pooled together. The colonized intellectual’s insertion into this human tide will find itself on hold because of his curious obsession with detail. It is not that the people are opposed to analysis. They appreciate clarification, understand the reasoning behind an argument, and like to see where they are going. But at the start of his cohabitation with the people the colonized intellectual gives priority to detail and tends to forget the very purpose of the struggle – the defeat of colonialism. Swept along by the many facets of the struggle, he tends to concentrate on local tasks, undertaken zealously but almost always too pedantically. He does not always see the overall picture. He introduces the notion of disciplines, specialized areas and fields into that awesome mixer and grinder called a people’s revolution. Committed to certain frontline issues he tends to lose sight of the unity of the movement and in the event of failure at the local level he succumbs to doubt, even despair. The people, on the other hand, take a global stance from the very start. “Bread and land: how do we go about getting bread and land?” And this stubborn, apparently limited, narrow-minded aspect of the people is finally the most rewarding and effective model.” ― Franz Fanon!

    This mere voice in the wilderness has for decades been suggesting Secondary Education for All Students should be rigidly enforced. That all Private Secondary Institutions should make at a minimum 10% of all seats be provided to children of families in need of assistance!

    ALL Administrations of GoAB have been urged to combine Antigua State College (ASC), Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI) and Antigua and Barbuda International Institute of Technology (ABIIT) and add a school of marine and aviation technology, and Trades Training and Apprenticeship for all Trades being employed in the Nation with subsidized Tuition! Credentials are not only at the University level!

    Many had urged a new direction towards a Blue and Green Economy years before it has now become fashionable! GoAB was encouraged to abandon the Army and to put all of the Resources into a well trained and managed Coast Guard providing a highly technical and credentialed work force with persons who could move easily into the fishing, yachting and marine industries. Lest We Forget, A&B had one of the largest Ship Registry in the Caribbean save for Panama, yet we were not providing mariners!

    This mere voice urged GoAB to make tuition free at UWI for all Antigua and Barbuda Nationals at the opening! Sadly with the damage being visited on the economy by the Pandemic, that would be a tall order and at best maybe subsidized tuition assisted by a major Advancement Program could be initiated with Private Business Partners!

    It was clear that this situation would continue to be highlighted by others to our shores! No one should be surprised! Professor Beckles emphasized this also, not only in Antigua and Barbuda but the OECS, when he addressed the reasons for UWI’s development of the Five Islands Campus to serve the OECS and help to overcome that Regional Deficiency.

    “The Afrocentric method considers phenomena to be diverse, dynamic, and in motion and therefore it is necessary for a person to accurately note and record the location of phenomena even in the midst of fluctuations. This means that the investigator must know where he or she is standing in the process. // The Afrocentric method is a form of cultural criticism that examines etymological uses of words and terms in order to know the source of an author’s location. This allows us to intersect ideas with actions and actions with ideas on the basis of what is pejorative and ineffective and what is creative and transformative at the political and economic levels.” Asante!

  13. Professor thanks- instead of looking at the positive side and say here is an opportunity to educate we play politics. The government is our biggest employer ALP/UPP same. So we have a boated unqualified civil service. This is an opportunity for government to educate them on the job and as they become qualified they will move into the private sector. We complain of companies bringing in people in high positions to fill all the top positions, here is the reason. Now policies must go along with this meaning- we get qualified we get the top jobs. We add TvET and CVQ programs to this and the sky is the limit. An Educated people will hold politicians and those in authority responsible. Note we have people for example at the head of our institutions working for tens of thousands , whose salaries can almost pay the entire staff. Our statuary bodies head , especially the one that cannot pay pensioners. So they like it so as sparrow will say.

  14. Professor- I specifically mentioned CVQ and TVET because we have scores of brilliant, experience people who never had the opportunity to get a piece of paper in their field.

  15. Well! Well! Covid-19 😷😷😷 everything floating to the Surface. In my View, lots of Antiguans have Creditentials in the work force… there is Room for more. A number of Antiguans left secondary School with Eight, nine , 10 ++++++ O levels and went straight into the workforce ;some from poor Background went to work to help their Parents. While working a number apply to the Bank for Student Loans and given the Run around, they got frustrated and put their hands in the Air. I must give former Commissioner of Police wendel Robinson his flowers; he stared a Degree Drive in the Police force; at one time Antigua Police force has the most Lawyers and Degrees in the OECS. Our Antigua Police Force has a member with Ph.D currently. The Professor is Right with his Research; its for the Authorities to work with him. Most people will know i started my Law Degree in England as a Police officer….i got sick during thre process….only God knows let me leave it as that. God is good to me “inspite of” me garn. 🇦🇬🇦🇬🇦🇬

  16. One thought or two.
    The new reality for workers/students requires that the Lifelong Learning Unit must be purpose-driven to achieve higher levels of production and innovation in our economy.
    The Unit must always know that it is not enough for the workers/students
    to learn and consume knowledge, but to translate that into experimentation and action.
    The Unit through this program should set out to change the individuals and the work environment, the context of the workplace.ThIs is the age of science, technology and digitalization -STEM subjects-education, powered by the Arts of Caribbean consciousness, a must-in all sectors of the economy, public and private. So our context, environment requires a change in our thinking and behavior.
    “If you want to change someone’s behavior, change the context around them, and they will respond to that context.” That is the sociologist’s view. On the other hand, observe what we see in A&B and the Caribbean, and have a tendency to say, “If I change the way you think, you’ll change the way you behave.” But that is not actually true.
    Respectfully, I ask Paula Lee, executive director of the program, to refer to the recent remarks of Caricom secretary general, Dr. Carla Barnett at the launch of Caricom Digital Skills Task Force. It could be meaningful.

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