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UWI students hit the streets in the first in a series of mass protests

UWI students hit the streets in the first in a series of mass protests

by Emmanuel Joseph

uwiprotestUnder the sweltering heat of the mid morning sun, an estimated 50 placard-bearing students out of a roll of 6,000 Barbadians from the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies took to the streets of the City today, in what they pledged would be the first in a series of mass protests against Government’s proposed imposition of tuition fees for Barbadians from 2014.

However, the poor turnout did not stop the students, most of whom were foreign, from lifting their placards high and shouting “education is our only hope”, as they slowly marched from Jubilee Gardens, Lower Broad Street to Independence Square, under the watchful eye of about half dozen police officers on foot and in a vehicle.

Ironically, a group of about 25 of their colleagues had gathered a stone’s throw away from Jubilee Gardens where the demonstration started, waiting for the campus bus to take them to classes. Minutes later, the procession would also pass a second group of more than 30 university students at a regular pick up point on Probyn Street, about to head on to their classrooms.

Asked by Barbados TODAY why they were not on the picket line, the students at the Probyn Street location echoed their commitment to attending classes.

“I got class,” one of a group of three students responded.

“It is a matter of principle. You have classes,” a public officer studying at Cave Hill added.

“Marching will not help me,” another student declared.

Students Guild President, Damanni Parris in discussion with Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police, Anderson Bowen (middle) and Inspector Peter Gibson in Jubilee Gardens this morning.

Students Guild President, Damanni Parris in discussion with Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police, Anderson Bowen (middle) and Inspector Peter Gibson in Jubilee Gardens this morning.

Another female college student added: “If we don’t invest in ourselves, what are we going to do. We don’t have any natural resources, only our people. People expect the Government to do everything for them.”

“I don’t have a problem paying the fees, the Government got to make money. Money was cut from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and nobody isn’t making noise and the QEH is all we have,” suggested yet another student waiting to catch the campus vehicle.

Before “hitting the streets”, the demonstrators converged on Jubilee Gardens where they were joined by Head of the Clement Payne Centre and People’s Empowerment Party, David Comissiong who was invited by the students, as well as by some members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party including MPs Cynthia Forde, Dale Marshall, Dwight Sutherland, Trevor Prescod and Edmund Hinkson.

As the protestors reached the city’s main thoroughfare of Broad Street with placards reading “No Taxation Without Education”, “If You Tax Us, Respect Us”, “Education Build Economies” and “Education Made Slaves Free”, one passersby was heard to shout: “Let’s start the revolution!”

Further along the relatively short route that snaked its way onto Bridge Street and Bay Street, the protest seemed to have caught many shoppers by surprise as they appeared taken back by the sight of the “marching band” of young people and police escort.

Traffic was brought to a crawl and in some instances had to give away while the boisterous demonstrators paused in front of Parliament – the seat of democracy – and sought to send a symbolic message to members of the Freundel Stuart Administration, considering that the legislature is on summer recess.

On reaching the headquarters of the Barbados Fire Service, about half dozen fire fighters were already on their front step to witness the happenings on street.

36 Responses to UWI students hit the streets in the first in a series of mass protests

  1. Damian Mascoll
    Damian Mascoll September 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Lol

    Reply
  2. Damian Mascoll
    Damian Mascoll September 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Skipping class and marching…sounds productive

    Reply
  3. Damian Mascoll
    Damian Mascoll September 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Skipping class and marching…sounds productive

    Reply
  4. J.C. P.
    J.C. P. September 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Except they have to wonder if they can continue to even afford class.

    Reply
  5. Matthew Clarke
    Matthew Clarke September 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    30 people cant be a mass protest

    Reply
    • Leandra Lewis
      Leandra Lewis September 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Most of whom were foreign students who are already their own tuition smh

      Reply
  6. J.C. P.
    J.C. P. September 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Wunna see where your tax dollars going?
    Barbados giveaway of tax dollars…

    Barbados visitors get ‘free’ spending money
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/10304883/Barbados-visitors-get-free-spending-money.html

    Barbados is attempting to entice holidaymakers – and draw attention to the high level of air tax paid by British travellers – by offering visitors “free” spending money.

    Reply
    • Sharon Woolley
      Sharon Woolley September 14, 2013 at 2:24 am

      and it still wont bring in the 1000′s of tourists they need

      Reply
    • Relina Coward
      Relina Coward September 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

      I AGREE WITH THE GOVERNMENT 1000% ARE THEY BEING PRODUCTIVE RIGHT NOW NOOOOOOOOOOOO

      Reply
    • Relina Coward
      Relina Coward September 14, 2013 at 8:32 am

      I IS A TAX PAYER AND I WOULD SPEAK ON IT THEY PAYING SOME NOT ALL SOME BAJANS LIKE TO FREENESS THEY WANT THE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR EVERYTHING WHILST THEY POCKET THEY MONEY FOR PARTYING, DRINKING AND THE LIST GOES ON AS I SAID BEFORE RIGHT NOW ITS A PETER PAY FOR PAUL AND PETER SURELY PAYING SO SAD

      Reply
  7. Nathan Sanchez
    Nathan Sanchez September 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    the fact is they did something alot of people would’nt do mass or not even 5 people make a difference

    Reply
    • Ryan Weekes
      Ryan Weekes September 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      Nathan!!people do things other people would’nt do every day!!doing something that other’s would’nt do don’t make it something of worth!!for it to be effective they must bring a good argument! not just saying it should be free!the grovernment made there case all who appose has to make there case against and so far no one has make a good case against!!

      Reply
    • Nathan Sanchez
      Nathan Sanchez September 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Ryan Weekes the tertiary educational system was free for 50 years and loads of valid points have been made about how the initial implementation of this tuition cost will affect variant classes within barbados…those placed in a position of finding a way to finance these “sudden” fees will not be given the luxury of finding a “case” as those in power have already made their decision..all of the speech and dialog about coming together at the round table flew out the door when a minister made a closing budgetary speech stating that all those ready to board the train of progress get on, and those who aren’t get off. That being said people will continue in barbados to vocally respond when a implemented measure impacts directly on them( that for self factor we are all guilty of at some point) if it doesn’t well water under the bridge. There could have been, should have been a better implementation strategy aimed at helping those students who cannot even on mid range salaries afford example 65k a year; developmental programs should have been made viable and realistic..even if it became a policy of “pay as you go”reverse investment..ie small increments which nurture the potential workforce while contributing to their own government…….Taking a student loan is one thing however; placing those financial challenged into perceptual debt even after completion of their studies is another.. in closing…people need to understand and stop making everything politically motivated and focus on motivating the progress of everyone as a whole thus ensuring nationwide developmental growth… those who speak about wasting tax payers money Relina Coward should recognize that lumping every student into a “wasters category” wont help the situation either…its kinda like me pointing you out and calling you and idiot..but hey..there are lots of persons who are motivated for the betterment of country and self…as for the time wasters up uwi there should be ways to “weed” those out..but again a motion has been passed and whipping a dead horse wont profit anyone. if they the students decide to protest these measures as it impacts on not only their futures..but those to come it is their right…

      Reply
  8. Odin's Beard September 13, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    LOL. That was a complete waste of time

    Reply
  9. Relina Coward
    Relina Coward September 14, 2013 at 1:02 am

    they need to go an relax stop wasting our tax payers money that is what

    Reply
  10. Relina Coward
    Relina Coward September 14, 2013 at 1:05 am

    its about time the government did something of some of those splurging and a lot of bajans agree and right now its a peter pay fah situation so the ones who playing the tale making bad for rest who wants to learn d government aint turning back on they word at all so dey could wells stop protesting they should be resting

    Reply
  11. Relina Coward
    Relina Coward September 14, 2013 at 1:05 am

    its about time the government did something of some of those splurging and a lot of bajans agree and right now its a peter pay fah situation so the ones who playing the tale making bad for rest who wants to learn d government aint turning back on they word at all so dey could wells stop protesting they should be resting

    Reply
  12. Jennie Inniss
    Jennie Inniss September 14, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Instead of government increasing fees at the University of the West Indies, they should probably just withdraw its subvention……we have become an educated welfare society, where we believe that it is our RIGHT to freeness and handouts with minimal personal contribution or sacrifice.
    I would like you to protest against any portion of my fees being apportioned to UWI carnival or the unavailability of text books; then maybe I’ll join you.
    If you protest against why the Government would contribute so much money to the University to hone the necessary KSA’s and yet make provision for most expertise to be imported eg Greenland dump expertise or Eagle Hall market expertise, while some UWI qualified graduates remain unemployed..just maybe I’ll join you…..
    Ask Sherwin Walters what he meant when he said “We are bright but not shining”
    My fellow University comrades, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

    John F. Kennedy

    Reply
    • Regina Worrell
      Regina Worrell September 14, 2013 at 4:16 am

      The government did not ‘increase’ tuition fees. They withdrew the subventions.

      Reply
    • Regina Worrell
      Regina Worrell September 14, 2013 at 4:17 am

      No portion of the tuition fees goes towards carnival, so that would be a stupid protest.

      Reply
    • Regina Worrell
      Regina Worrell September 14, 2013 at 4:18 am

      If you really go to UWI, and you can write this retarded letter, I’m now relieved that less of my tax money is funding your education

      Reply
    • Ryan Weekes
      Ryan Weekes September 14, 2013 at 5:22 am

      Regina Worrell!!not as “retarded” as some of these “protesting students”

      Reply
    • Ryan Weekes
      Ryan Weekes September 14, 2013 at 5:31 am

      i lessen to some of these students on the cbc news and not one of them made any sense!if you are going to make a case at lease present a good argument!

      Reply
    • Jennie Inniss
      Jennie Inniss September 14, 2013 at 7:04 am

      regina worrell you certainly dont have a clue- you think that all of the money that is apportioned to student guild go to transportation…well I never …wunna bright but wunna aint shining – sherwin walters….and by the way Gov’t did not withdrew its subvention..if they did we would definitely see an increase in fees…I state my case and its final ” We have become an educated welfare society”

      Reply
  13. A Blackman September 14, 2013 at 5:49 am

    This to me was rather comical. Thirty persons consisting of a few bajan students (4 or 5), a tutor, five political humbugs, with the remainder being foreign students looking for an adventure, just happening to pass over fifty bajan students on their way to class.

    Reply
  14. Gina-Ann Trotman
    Gina-Ann Trotman September 14, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Still waiting to find out what purpose this will serve *tapping foot, hands folded*

    Reply
  15. Ryan Weekes
    Ryan Weekes September 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

    One of the protesters was saying that making students pay will not stop them from wasting time! No when I hear that I ask my self what de hell going on at uwi??

    Reply
    • Tammy Sweets
      Tammy Sweets September 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

      but you find that the persons wasting time r the ones whose parents can afford it but is everybody at uwi a doctor’s son or daughter..?

      Reply
    • Ryan Weekes
      Ryan Weekes September 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      my point is that no body is trying to stop people from wasting time!!!so saying that this will not stop people from wasting time is a comment that really makes me wonder!!!!and if they do any way who will the loss be at??

      Reply
  16. Ryan Weekes
    Ryan Weekes September 14, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Not to mention the placard with “if you tax us respect us” now what the hell that got to do with this issue??

    Reply
  17. Kim K Smith
    Kim K Smith September 14, 2013 at 10:55 am

    As usual I am saddened by y fellow Bajans and their foolish responses. Every class at UWI should have been empty yesterday morning. This government works for us,we call the shots. If we turn out in our numbers change can happen,we are a bunch of wimps,afraid of our own shadows.

    Reply
  18. Tammy Sweets
    Tammy Sweets September 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Funny how everybody that got there degree years ago for free don’t care that some people will be negatively affected if it comes to paying…but I guess I wouldn’t care either if I didn’t have to pay -__-

    Reply
  19. Joyann Clarke September 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Kim don’t bother commenting further on the issue because notice that not all but 90 % of people who support Government’s decision to make student pay these fee are 1 a politican that has to support it, or 2 people who never went and will never go to UWI or anywhere else or have children who will not get to UWI for what ever reason other than the fees, and that is 60% of the country so you will constantly see idiotic statement on the matter. That is why we will continue to advocate for student to go to school because we cannot allow the ignorance of people to cause the rest of us to suffer. Start a survey and you will see I am right.

    Reply
  20. J.C. P.
    J.C. P. September 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Looks like ‘Froon’ made good on his promise to return wunna to the cane fields. You all really vote that man back in???? SMH.

    Reply
  21. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner September 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Bajans love to whine and complain about every friggin thing,money tight and gov got to make changes.Bajans need to see how the real world operates and then maybe the stupid whining and complaining would stop,gov not your parents stop expecting gov to do everything for you.

    Reply
  22. Amanda Lynch-Foster September 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Rawle Spooner, I don’t see it as the students expecting “government” to do “everything” for them. The ‘government’ of Barbados does not earn money except through taxation of Barbadian citizens so in actual fact, they are not doing a damn thing for us. Spending your citizens’ own money on the same citizens is not like being their parent – it is like being a democratic government.

    Barbadians have had a social contract with successive governments which is – we are heavily taxed but we expect those tax dollars to be put back into a strong social safety net which includes free tertiary education and quality health care.

    As for your assinine comments about seeing how the ‘real world’ operates – what makes other countries more real than us? Why are you admonishing us now to look at how the rest of the world operates when for decades we prided ourselves on the fact that the world was looking at US with admiration for how we ran things?

    I do not give half a damn how the rest of the world operates, I care about Barbados and as a tax-paying Barbadian, I have certain expectations. A policy like this will drive away the (already) educated middle class who are the ones that drive progress in the country.

    Reply

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