“A Barbadian Tragedy” – Clement Payne Movement

A tragedy of profound proportions has recently befallen Barbados – a tragedy that far too many of us seem to be unaware of; a tragedy that has truly dire implications for our nation.

The tragedy that I am referring to is that the Democratic Labour Party’s new policy of charging tuition fees for tertiary level education at the University of the West Indies has resulted in some 4,000 Barbadians not being able to avail themselves of university education!

We Barbadians need to pause and to reflect very deeply and profoundly on this cold hard fact. Let me repeat it:- the UWI Administration has revealed that since the new fee paying structure was imposed on Barbadians, the roll of Barbadian students in the UWI system has declined by some 4,000 men and women. And you can be assured that these 4,000 persons are all members of the broad Barbadian working and lower middle class who simply do not possess the financial wherewithal to pay the new fees.

We Barbadians need to pause and to reflect very deeply and profoundly on this cold hard fact. Let me repeat it:- the UWI Administration has revealed that since the new fee paying structure was imposed on Barbadians, the roll of Barbadian students in the UWI system has declined by some 4,000 men and women. And you can be assured that these 4,000 persons are all members of the broad Barbadian working and lower middle class who simply do not possess the financial wherewithal to pay the new fees.

So, for the supposed purpose of saving $42 Million per year – in a Government budget that is well in excess of $3 Billion (3,000 millions of dollars) – our Government is now depriving over 4,000 of our needy sons and daughters of accessing university education! This is truly unbelievable – and tragic!

DAVID COMISSIONG; President, Clement Payne Movement

DAVID COMISSIONG;
President,
Clement Payne Movement

It is education that has brought Barbados thus far on its developmental journey, and, although Messrs Stuart, Jones and their Cabinet colleagues are too blind to see it, it is education that will have to get us out of the deep economic trough that the mindless and vision-less political leadership of the past decade has placed us in!

It is also education that will have to help us repair the ruptured social, cultural and psychological fabric that is now manifesting in widespread (and growing) crime and violence in our society.

If Barbados is to be saved, it will have to be saved through an “Education Revolution“! Admittedly, such an “Education Revolution” will call for profound reform in the structure of our current system of education and in the content of our curriculum. But even as we brainstorm the precise nature of those reforms, one thing is absolutely certain, and it is that we will have to maintain or even increase the access of our people to university education!

Thus, any policy that causes Barbados to lose 4,000 university level students is just plain wrong and is taking our country in a direction that is diametrically opposite to the direction that we need to go in.

Truly, the late great Errol Walton Barrow, T.T. Lewis, Wynter Crawford and Sir James Tudor must all be rolling in their graves!

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