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UWI ‘FAILED’


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GOVERNMENT backbencher James Paul  has criticised the “intellectuals” at the University of the West Indies for failing to assist the productive sector.Paul, who is chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, charged that  too often the sector  had to rely on experts from “outside” to help solve problems.“The University of the West Indies has been around for over 40 years, and I believe we are  at a stage where, instead of having to rely on the research that has been conducted by overseas universities on a constant basis, the UWI should be developing the capability that says they can  go into a situation and come up with solutions  in the productive sector,” Paul argued.He made the comments while speaking in the House of Assembly  during a resolution  to approve the guarantee of US$2.75 million  from the Caribbean Development Bank  to UWI for the financing  of the University Enhancement Project.Paul suggested that  one of the reasons for the hesitance on the part of the “intellectuals” at UWI to assist the productive sector was that the products were being developed by “very ordinary people”.He charged that  if it was “somebody  of a different colour dispensation” they might get quicker action from the UWI.He pointed out that the university had a critical role to play in ensuring that the Caribbean had  a stable, competitive  and productive sector.He said in the past  the UWI had not  really addressed the fundamental needs of the productive sector, but he said the University Enhancement Project spoke to what we  really needed.Paul explained that there were some producers who were not aware  of the standards involved in the production of their products, adding that there were some  technical specifications  in the production of those products that also needed to be addressed.“The fact that we have the University of the  West Indies, they should certainly be able to wrap their minds around the problems that our producers are facing  to make them more competitive in today’s environment. Unless the university addresses the issue of making our productive sector better able to compete in the current economic environment that we are in it will be a signal failure for us as a nation,” he charged. (MB)

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