New UWI campus and new renewable energy plant
Two years after Hurricane Irma almost crippled the economy of Antigua-Barbuda, the small twin-island state has been experiencing a significant uplift in its socio-economic outlook with two major projects boosting its education and energy sectors.
With the opening of the Five Island Campus this past September, the country became the site of the University Of The West Indies’ fifth land campus, joining Trinidad and Tobago (St. Augustine), Jamaica (Mona) and
Barbados Cave Hill) and the major Medical Facility in The Bahamas.
The campus, which began admitting its 800 students this past August, is intended to serve Antigua-Barbuda with its population of 102,000 and the member countries of the regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and their combined population of 600,000.
According to Sir Hilary Beckles, vice chancellor of UWI, the decision to open the Five Island Campus is aimed at confronting a major issue of education in the region.
“The OECS records the lowest rates of youth tertiary education enrolment in the Caribbean, and indeed the hemisphere. This unacceptable circumstance is reflected in some of the highest youth unemployment rates in the region,” he pointed out.
This he says runs counter to the fact that the “OECS registered amongst the highest rates of economic growth in the region.”
He says the establishment of this campus promises “corrective action.”
The institution will offer three schools of studies: Health and Behavioral Sciences; Humanities and Education; Management, Sciences and Technology. Professor Stafford A. Griffith will serve as principal of the Campus.
Another announcement from the government points to a major development that places Antigua-Barbuda on the leading edge of sustainable energy technology in the region, with the construction of a climate-resilient and green-renewable energy plant on the island of Barbuda.
The $10 million project is a partnership deal involving United Arab Emirate’s Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, the Caricom Development Fund, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the government of Antigua and Barbuda.
The plant is expected to offset 690 tonnes of carbon dioxide and save the country close to US$350,000 annually.
The 62 square-mile Barbuda is the sister isle of Antigua. It has a population of just over 1,650. In September 2017, 95% of its building and infrastructure was destroyed by Hurricane Irma, a Category Five monster storm, one of the strongest ever recorded across the Atlantic Ocean.
In Montreal, members of the Antigua-Barbuda Association continue to make themselves available to assist in rebuilding and development initiatives in their homeland.
On Saturday November 16 they will be hosting their annual fundraising Banquet and Gala at the Il Gabiano Hall in LaSalle. Info. 450-672-3286; 514-739-0337; 514-489-2864.