‘Pressure’ from UWI expansion
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart says the tuition fees Barbadian UWI students are being asked to pay represent just about 20 per cent of the total university costs which Government and Barbadian taxpayers will have to continue to meet.
He said the fees were an expense Government could no longer afford to bear, given the spiralling economic costs resulting mainly from the “massive expansion” of the campus over the last decade. While he acknowledged the expansion was necessary if Barbados were to become an international institution, he said it happened when the global economy was coming under increasing pressure.
The Prime Minister said a decision had to be taken in the context of Barbados’ fiscal deficit, which if left unchecked, could end up somewhere in the vicinity of nine per cent of gross domestic product, a position which had landed the island in the lap of the International Monetary Fund in 1981.
“We cannot wish away the nearly $200 million owed to the University of the West Indies,” the Prime Minister insisted.
Addressing a media conference after a tour of the Ocean Two Hotel yesterday, the Prime Minister stressed Barbados was in “a very difficult situation”.