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Call for lower fares for students

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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CARICOM leaders and heads of universities have been asked to do something about the expensive air fares for students travelling intra-regionally.Speaking on Tuesday at a Press conference at the Caricom Building on the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), president of the UWI Guild, Carl Alff Padmore, lamented the high cost for intra-regional travel which, he said, was also a hindrance to “greater regionalism” among the students.“Travel is very expensive, even sometimes to come home for graduation. These students would like to go home sometimes for a weekend, or their parents would like to come up and see them, but it’s too expensive. Clearly $900 or $1 000 is ridiculous for a 45-minute ride, and we are saying to CARICOM and heads of universities to please do something on behalf of the students,” he stated.Padmore said he felt airlines like LIAT and Caribbean Airways needed to work with the universities to get something done.Padmore also made reference to the 2011 inter-campus games being held at Cave Hill, which would see hundreds of students coming for the games.He said more housing and accommodation would be needed, but told landlords he would be watching them “with an eagle’s eye”.He also expressed concern about the high rental rates that some students paid for accommodation and called on Government to put legislation in place to help with this.“The students are not cash-cows as some of you may think, so we will be monitoring the situation very closely,” he cautioned landlords.He said already the principal at UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, had agreed to build bigger accommodation for the games, scheduled to be held in May next year, but that was expected to accommodate just over 300 people.The games are expected to last ten to 14 days.Stephanie Abrahams, vice president of Services & Special Projects for Mona, and Nigel Thomas, evening and part-time representative for St Augustine, agreed that air fares were too high and something needed to be done with regard to the rental situation, especially as the games approached.“The issue of accommodation will benefit the average man, but we have to make sure that universities play a part in this because we don’t want the students to be taken advantage of,” Thomas stated.