CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN MAIN­TAINS PART­NER­SHIP WITH UWI

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

The Univer­sity of the West Indies, Cave Hill Cam­pus is ex­pected to take a multi-mil­lion dol­lar step to help the Caribbean fur­ther de­velop through sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy. The ef­fort will see the es­tab­lish­ment of a state-ofthe art Fac­ulty of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy at the cam­pus.

Prin­ci­pal and Pro ViceChan­cel­lor of The UWI, Cave Hill, Pro­fes­sor Eu­dine Bar­riteau spoke about this goal when Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) of CIBC FirstCaribbean Gary Brown paid her a courtesy call re­cently. She also said that the cam­pus was aim­ing to in­crease its stu­dent pop­u­la­tion to close to its carry ca­pac­ity of 9,000 by tap­ping in on non-tra­di­tional Caribbean mar­kets as well as in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

She said that the cam­pus’ en­rol­ment had de­clined af­ter the Bar­ba­dos govern­ment in­tro­duced tu­ition fees for lo­cal stu­dents, how­ever, she was seek­ing to mar­ket the cam­pus in­ter­na­tion­ally by lever­ag­ing its rep­u­ta­tion for of­fer­ing a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion as well as its lo­ca­tion in Bar­ba­dos high­lighted by fac­tors such as good in­ter­na­tional con­nec­tions by air, ac­cess to dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and good so­cial co­he­sion.

Prior to meet­ing with the prin­ci­pal, the CEO toured the cam­pus and said he was im­pressed with the fa­cil­i­ties. Pro­fes­sor Bar­riteau noted that her pre­de­ces­sor, Pro­fes­sor Sir Hi­lary Beck­les, now The UWI’s Vice Chan­cel­lor, had worked dili­gently to mod­ernise it but the Fac­ulty of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, orig­i­nally built in the 1960s, was out of pace with to­day’s re­quire­ments. Bar­riteau re­marked that growth in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy was in­te­gral to the re­gion’s de­vel­op­men and it was there­fore nec­es­sary for fac­ulty and the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion to have ac­cess to bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties; plus hav­ing a mod­ern fac­ulty was im­por­tant to the long-term trans­for­ma­tion of learn­ing, de­liv­ery and in­vest­ment at the cam­pus. She added that the Caribbean Devel­op­ment Bank was car­ry­ing out pre­lim­i­nary work that will fa­cil­i­tate de­sign and other fun­da­men­tals of the project.

CEO Brown said the bank was in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about the project and was will­ing to help, es­pe­cially recog­nis­ing its link to the re­gion’s devel­op­ment.

CIBC FirstCaribbean is a long-time sup­porter of the univer­sity. The par­ties for­malised their re­la­tion­ship in 2003 with the sign­ing of their first three-year me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MOU). Dur­ing the courtesy call, Mr. Brown pre­sented Pro­fes­sor Bar­riteau with the fi­nal tranche of spon­sor­ship money un­der the 2014-2017 MOU.

Not­ing that the bank was pleased to part­ner with the univer­sity as it de­vel­oped the hu­man re­sources of the re­gion, Brown an­nounced that its com­mu­nity re­la­tion’s arm, the FirstCaribbean ComTrust Foun­da­tion, had given the go-ahead to com­mence ne­go­ti­a­tions with The UWI for a new MOU. The MOU usu­ally tar­gets schol­ar­ships for stu­dents, research fund­ing and the cam­pus’ out­reach to the pub­lic through the an­nual Frank Wor­rell Me­mo­rial Cricket Lec­ture and the an­nual In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day lec­ture.

Pro­fes­sor Bar­riteau, who is in her sec­ond year as prin­ci­pal, thanked the bank for con­tin­u­ing its re­la­tion­ship with the univer­sity, adding that she would en­sure the cam­pus carry some vis­i­ble sign of the bank’s tan­gi­ble con­tri­bu­tion.

Cave Hill’s Pro Vice-Chan­cel­lor and Prin­ci­pal Pro­fes­sor Eu­dine Bar­riteau (sec­ond right) in dis­cus­sion with CIBC FirstCaribbean’s CEO Gary Brown (left), with the bank’s Di­rec­tor of Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Debra King (right) and Cave Hill’s Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Of­fi­cer, So­nia John­son.

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