Opposition member calls on education minister for update on UWI bursaries
Opposition Member of Parliament Edmund Hinkson is calling for the Minister of Education to come clean on the status of the bursaries for Barbadians studying at the University of the West Indies.
Hinkson, shadow Minister of Education, is claiming that Cabinet has turned down the minister’s request to fund the 3,000 bursaries.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, he said now is not the time for the minister to keep silent, and he needs to be held to account.
“We have been very reliably informed that a request was made to the Cabinet for $3 million for bursaries for Barbadian university students and this has been rejected by Cabinet. This is an issue of fundamental significance and fundamental importance in terms of ministerial responsibility,” Hinkson said.
Last week, when Barbados TODAY asked the education minister for an update on the bursaries, which he had said, back in July, would be made available to the students “in about a week’s time”, Jones said he had nothing to say.
However, Hinkson described the stance now being taken by the minister as unacceptable.
“This is untenable, it is disappointing. It begs the question ‘what is Mr Jones’ position in relation, therefore, to his Cabinet colleagues, who have fundamentally rejected his idea and concept?’ Will Mr Jones now go down as the Cabinet minister who has presided over the dismantlement of free education in Barbados? It also calls into question the reported statement by Minister Donville Inniss that the DLP (Democratic Labour Party) is still one big happy family,” Hinkson said.
“Minister Jones ought to come and tell the public of Barbados what is the position on these bursaries, which he was speaking about since the middle of April this year. It should not have to come from a media house as was done in early October, it should not have to come from an Opposition spokesman.”
The Opposition parliamentarian said this situation presents a bleak future for the Barbadians studying at UWI, who were depending on the assistance.
“What’s going to happen now with hundreds of these students whose family may have held their hands for the first semester in the hope that funding would come through for the second semester? What’s going to happen? How many of them are going to be unable to go into the second semester? In some cases, these may be students who may only need one more semester to graduate who may now find themselves having to drop out,” Hinkson added.