NCU de­serves to be sup­ported by the Govern­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION -

THE EDI­TOR, Madam:

SOME ON­LINE read­ers have ac­cused Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness of be­ing se­lec­tive in his re­cent con­tri­bu­tion from his pri­vate foun­da­tion to a fundrais­ing me­diathon hosted by the alumni of North­ern Caribbean Univer­sity (NCU). An­tag­o­nists ar­gue that as a Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist ad­her­ent, the PM was sup­port­ing an in­sti­tu­tion owned by that de­nom­i­na­tion to the detri­ment of other pri­vately owned ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

As a prac­tis­ing Ad­ven­tist, I be­lieve that the Govern­ment should be help­ing all pri­vate schools that are mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to na­tional devel­op­ment. I be­lieve that there should be a line item in the na­tional Bud­get to ac­com­plish such a feat. It is the sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Govern­ment to ed­u­cate its peo­ple, es­pe­cially at the ele­men­tary and se­condary lev­els. The churches, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and other char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions are there to sup­port the Govern­ment and not to carry the bur­den of the State. Any sup­port the Govern­ment gives to these or­gan­i­sa­tions is in its own in­ter­est.

Con­cern­ing the charge that the prime min­is­ter’s con­tri­bu­tion to NCU was on the ba­sis that he is a Seven­th­day Ad­ven­tist, I be­lieve that is an ex­cel­lent rea­son to give. Let me use this medium to present some facts about the Sev­enth-day Ad­ven­tist or­gan­i­sa­tion in Ja­maica: •

Mem­ber­ship is more than 300,000 peo­ple. •

More than 700 churches. •

28 ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing nine se­condary schools and one univer­sity. •

Al­most 10,000 stu­dents. •

One hos­pi­tal: An­drews Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal. •

NCU is lo­cated in Man­dev­ille, where it gen­er­ates eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties to the tune of sev­eral bil­lion dol­lars. Just stop and imag­ine what Man­dev­ille would be like with­out NCU for the past 100 years. •

What about NCU’s con­tri­bu­tion to the devel­op­ment of Ja­maica at the na­tional level? As a univer­sity, we have grad­u­ated thou­sands of stu­dents who have gone on to serve Ja­maica, the Caribbean, and the rest of the world.

I will men­tion two ar­eas that are crit­i­cal in the fight of COVID-19: nurs­ing and med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy. NCU grad­u­ates in these oc­cu­pa­tions are en­listed in the fight to pro­tect the Ja­maican pop­u­la­tion.

Now that your read­ers are more in­formed of the facts about Seven­th­day Ad­ven­tists, the ques­tion on the ta­ble is: Should an in­sti­tu­tion like NCU not be sup­ported by Govern­ment? DR WITFORD REID Mem­ber of Board North­ern Caribbean Univer­sity

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