UWI Principal Prof Brian Copeland yesterday confirmed that the university’s South Campus in Penal-Debe has not been opened for students in time for the 2019/2020 academic year
In a release issued on Copeland’s behald, UWI confirmed, “Students have not yet started attending classes at the south campus.” This in response to questions sent to the UWI more than a week ago for an update on the status of the south campus. The response also comes a day after Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal wrote to Copeland to find out when the campus will be opened.
“In order to ensure that programme delivery at the south campus is at or above the quality offered at St Augustine, we must engage in testing of the facility in addition to other preparatory measures,” UWI said in its statement.
“Quality delivery requires thoroughness in these preparatory measures and, as such, we have taken the strategic decision to phase the occupation until fully operational. Operations at the South Campus will be gradually phased in, beginning with use of the extensive acreage available for research and project activities.”
UWI has promised to advise on a media tour of the facility which will be done “in due course.” In July, Copeland indicated that the south campus will be ready for students for new semester beginning September. Copeland also castigated “naysayers” including former Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim who had expressed doubts about the readiness of the campus after four years. However, that commitment was not kept. There were no students at the south campus when Newsday visited on Monday. Security guards were the only one visible at the site and they said they were not authorised to speak to the media. On Tuesday Moonilal said he had “just dispatched a letter to Copeland to find out what was the delay.
“As the elected MP here, I went to the south campus bright and early on Monday morning, wearing my jacket and tie, hoping to meet and welcome the first intake of students, but all I met was a man on a bicycle selling bara (doubles) and two stray dogs. So, I sent a letter to Copeland, headlined, “Copeland cannot cope,” Moonilal said.
In the letter, Moonilal said he has had many queries from constituents who visit on a weekly basis enquiring when the campus will be opened. He wrote,” Their main concern is when will the campus be opened? Moonilal said his letter was copied to chairman of the Penal Debe Regional Corporation, Dr Allen Sammy and Rampersad Sieuraj, president of the Penal Debe Chamber of Commerce. Sieuraj said opening of this campus is on the top of his October 7 budget wish list.