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UWI’s loss

uwicavehillwflagUniversity of the West Indies officials have reportedly received more bad news from the Barbados Government.

Barbados TODAY understands that ahead of a meeting of the regional learning institution’s Finance and General Purposes Committee last Friday in Jamaica the university learnt that Barbados would be unable to meet this month’s financial commitment to the university, and further, that promised substantial relief was being diverted to get the long-stalled Four Season hotel project at Black Rock restarted.

While Barbados TODAY could not confirm if this latest non-payment by Government was responsible, staff at Cave Hill, who should have been paid today received a memo this afternoon informing them there would be a slight delay. Sources said while most staff members could expect to be paid tomorrow, it was very likely that depending on where they bank, payment could be as late as Thursday.

With Barbados said to be now owing the organisation about $200 million, much of it to the Cave Hill Campus here, a university official said the news they received was not what the administrators in Jamaica were hoping to hear.

“They thought that Minister of Education Ronald Jones would have been there to say something concrete. The Permanent Secretary went but all she basically reported was that they don’t have any money,” the source said.

“This will represent the fourth or fifth straight month that Barbados would not have contributed. There is a lot of disappointment in the air because it means that the institution has to keep shifting money from another campus to help out Cave Hill. But the critical thing is that it is not just Cave Hill that is affected, it is the entire institution,” the official noted.

Just last week Cave Hill Principal Professor Sir Hilary Beckles announced that the campus was on the verge of negotiating a major private sector financial injection to help with the organisation’s cash flow problems.

“We have a cash flow difficulty and that is a serious matter. We are trying to find the right balance between sacrifice and growth. We had to put some projects on hold,” he said.

Barbados TODAY was informed that with a general election in Barbados now imminent and the presentation of Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure to follow, UWI officials in Jamaica and here were growing anxious that next month would also bring bad news from the Freundel Stuart Administration. (SC)

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