UWI Students Guild tentative on protest call
It’s up to the students to decide.
That was the position of President of the Guild of Students at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus Damani Parris, following a call from a public secondary school teacher for students at every level of the education system to walk out of classes when school resumes in September, to protest the Government’s decision to stop paying tuition fees.
Describing the call, made by Combermere teacher Reverend Charles Morris, as “interesting”, Gibbs told Barbados TODAY the student body had to determine whether it wanted to take the advice, and he would back whatever decision they took.
“The student body has to determine what is its next move on the matter of these fees. I have to take my cue on these matters from the spirit of the students. I cannot determine for them what they want to do next. In reality, this is a true democracy, and as it is a true democracy, I have to listen to what the people say. I am totally at the mercy of the student body at all times during my year in office. I cannot make determinations for the student body that may not be popular with the student body or in the best interest of the body,” he said.
However, the president added: “Definitely, I am one who believes that it is time for us to make a powerful statement to the Government of Barbados and if that is the sort of statement that they want to make at this time then by all means, let us make it. The reality is that as the student body we have been victims of intergenerational theft and such as punishment inflicted by the Government cannot be taken lightly or cannot be ignored by the student body of the university.”
Today signaled the last day of orientation by new students for the coming school year at the tertiary institution.
Parris reported that this day went relatively quietly but he was still unnerved by the fact that, from all reports, student numbers were significantly down.
“But then the reality is, I predicted this. This cannot be surprising to my office because this is exactly what we thought was going to happen,” he said.