Financial constraint is said to be the main factor preventing the University of the West Indies (UWI) from proceeding with the construction of a local campus at Hope, St. Andrew’s.
Works Minister Gregory Bowen who made that pronouncement on GBN “To the Point Program” last week Wednesday said he does not think at this time that UWI has the resources to proceed with the project.
According to Minister Bowen, the regional university has been complaining that many member countries including Grenada have not been meeting their financial commitment with respect to their contributions for the upkeep of the learning institution.
Countries having students attending UWI have to pay the economic cost, and according to the senior government Minister Grenada recently paid $1.5M to UWI for its students.
Minister Bowen told the programme that the lands have already been identified for the project.
“The lands are there, we have to look into it to finalise the deal, but the land is not the problem that is holding it up, we think it’s finances from UWI and we are following up on this,” he said.
The land for the UWI campus was made available by the 2008-13 National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
However, within months of taking office following the February 2013 poll, new Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell accused the former administration of being engaged in a corrupt practice with the way in which the land was purchased.
During a sitting of the House of Representatives last year Dr. Mitchell charged that some Members of the Cabinet of Ministers engaged in inappropriate behaviour within the government and profited from the sale of the lands.
Without calling names, Dr. Mitchell who was at the time making his contribution to the debate in the House on the Public Integrity Bill told the Lower House of Parliament Members of Cabinet who formed a Corporation went ahead and purchased some lands and then turned around and sold it to government at inflated prices for use of the UWI Campus.
“They (the Members of Cabinet) saw and know that a project was coming through, that the government has to buy some land, they sit in the Cabinet, Mr. Speaker, and these are the nice, honest, accountable, decent people, they sit in the Cabinet and proceed, knowing what the Cabinet has to do, to run ahead with a group and buy the land and sell it back to government for millions of dollars of profit,” he said.
Checks made by this newspaper revealed that the lands were purchased in the 1980’s and not during the 2008-2013 period as alluded to by Dr. Mitchell.