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Let Cave Hill be the driver, urges Sir Hilary

Principal Sir Hilary Beckles believes the Cave Hill campus can provide “the economic energy” to drive Barbados out of recession and the basis on which the island gets the “elusive two to three per cent growth that we are looking for”

However, speaking at a science and technology book launch and panel discussion seminar this morning, Sir Hilary said the university would need to get more support in the form of funding.

Sir Hilary Beckles

Sir Hilary Beckles

“Give it the energy, let it do what it has to do. We can do so much more and I know that this faculty [Science and Technolgy] will continue to do so much more,” he said.

While pointing to a study which showed that the campus had generated $70 to $80 million in foreign exchange or close to two per cent of GDP, Sir Hilary said: “I have no doubt that Cave Hill can be the basis of the economic energy that can drive this country out of recession. I have no doubt about that. No doubt that Cave Hill can be the yeast that will enable this [bread] to rise. I have no doubt of that. But the dialogue is dysfunctional . . . we need to fix that conversation, fix the relationship and build the economy. It [Cave Hill] has done it in the past and it will do so in the future. It can do that right now.”

The principal also noted that over the years the university had experienced “fairly even growth” in all faculties, but said it became evident in the last 15 years that the campus needed to expand to meet the human resource needs of the country while at the same time catering more to the international community.

“We make strategic decisions. And thus our strategic plan 2012/2017. We focus in that plan upon energizing, expanding and developing Science and Technology and Medicine at Cave Hill,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean we are going to downsize the other faculties. It does not mean we are going to relate in a different way to the other faculties that have carried that responsibility in the past – Humanities, Social Science and Law – [but] now we have the faculties of Medicine, Science and Technology and we are saying to them, ‘this is your time now to join in the leadership; provide strategic and innovative leadership of this campus going forward. ‘This is your time to bring innovation into the campus and its relationship to the country of Barbados and to the Eastern Caribbean, the region and the world’,” he said.

Noting that “millions of dollars pour into Cave Hill campus from overseas every year”, largely through the projects in Medicine, Science and Technology, Sir Hilary said the university was “a critical force” for driving the international competitiveness of the island.

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