New Principal of University of West Indies highlights institute’s tenuous financial situation

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Professor C. Justin Robinson, the newly appointed Principal of the University of West Indies Five Island Campus (UWI FIC), spoke of the difficult financial situation that the University finds itself in.

The issue is of great significance to many nations in the region, as the University if the West Indies is one of the most important institutions in the Caribbean.

The University is directly responsible for providing world class higher education to many students in the Caribbean and has become an educational hub for the region.

During his induction ceremony, Principal Robinson had this to say, “Many of us present here today have experienced the life changing opportunities a world class education can bring and an education delivered by an institution deeply rooted in all of the contextual complexities of the Caribbean.”

He highlighted the drop in the financial support that has been offered to the University, which received approximately US$237.85 million from Caribbean governments back in 2013. Sadly though, that figure has dropped to US$207.35 million in the 10 years on.

Robinson acknowledged the fact that the amount quoted is a significant one, especially since it is coming from Small Island Nations. Yet, he stated that it was an issue which needed to be addressed if the University is to continue to provide quality education.

One must also consider the fact that the amount being given to the University of the Caribbean is reminiscent of what was feasible many years ago. With time, the needs of the University have expanded and inflation has also had an impact on the applicability of running such a major institution as is.

He added, “The UWI operates in the same economy as the rest of us and with inflation these amounts are inadequate to sustain the accessible world class Caribbean university I spoke about. Imagine if you had to sustain your household today on an income that is 15 per cent lower than it was in 2013.”

“Access to a world class Caribbean university has been of the most positively transformative developments to date on our journey as a Caribbean civilization.”

He also reminded the gathering the late Professor Rex Nettleford had once described the University of the West Indies as the greatest gift the Caribbean had ever given itself. This underscores how vital the university is to the region and the progression of the Caribbean as a social structure.

Robinson remains resolute in the face of these difficulties though, ensuring people that the management of the University of the West Indies is prepared to help the institute expand despite the gap in funding.

“As such the current strategic plan seeks to engage in a ‘Revenue Revolution’. I take this opportunity to encourage UWI colleagues to embrace this strategy and embrace the “entrepreneurial UWI.”

He added that, “UWI FIC has a distinct advantage of newness and my most urgent task as leader is to ensure that the campus embraces this entrepreneurial/financially independent as far as possible culture from the outset.”

“I see myself as being tasked with crafting a business model that generates the financial sustainability that is the foundation for all the wonderful things we want to do.”

Robinson spoke of the financial issues that the University is facing in the presence of UWI Chancellor Robert Bermudez, Vice Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, senior UWI’s academic and administrative staff as well as Education Minister, Daryll Matthew.

Daryll Matthew, the Minister of Education, had this to say on the matter, “As we embark on this journey with Professor Robinson, it’s essential to recognize the significance of leadership in shaping the educational landscape. Professor Robinson brings with him a wealth of experience, a passion for education, and a vision for the future that aligns seamlessly with the values that define our campus.”

“As we transition to a new chapter under Professor Robinson’s leadership, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the strengths and achievements that define our university. We have a proud history of academic achievement, a diverse and talented student body, and a faculty committed to pushing the boundaries of knowledge.”

Matthew continues to be hopeful, that the University will prosper under the guidance of Principal Robinson. He said, “Under Professor Robinson’s guidance, we can anticipate exciting developments and initiatives that will further enhance our educational experience.

Whether it’s embracing new technologies, expanding research opportunities, or fostering collaboration across disciplines, we are confident that our principal will lead us toward a future of continued success and growth.”

Ana Allen
Ana Allen
Anna Allen, news writer at Writeups24, is a Harvard graduate with a passion for journalism. With her keen eye for detail and insatiable curiosity, she captures the essence of global stories. Anna's writing informs and delves into cultural nuances. To reach Anna, you can email


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