UWI Vice-Chancellor tells Technical Advisory Committees at annual budget meetings: “Our commitment is to improve and change”

by March 24, 2022

On March 8 and 9, the Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) met to discuss the regional University’s annual budgets. During the two-day session, hosted by the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, budgets for The UWI’s five campuses, the University Centre, the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) and the Seismic Research Centre were reviewed.

In his closing remarks on Wednesday, March 9, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles thanked the Technical Advisory Committees and assured its members that The UWI is committed to improvement and change.

He stated that the University was keen to ensure that it illustrates movement in the directions expected by the TACs in terms of creating greater efficiency, more effective central administration, expenditure reduction and cost savings while focusing also on strategies to improve revenue; this was done aggressively during the year. He also said that the University has laid the foundation for the next stage of its strategic plan: the ‘Revenue Revolution’.

The UWI adheres to rigorous budgeting processes. These yearly deliberations are testament to the highest standards of financial accountability adopted in The UWI’s stewardship of its operations. Participants of the various committees included permanent secretaries and other senior government officials in the ministries of tertiary education and finance across the region, as well as Jamaica’s Ministry Of Health. Also in attendance was The UWI’s Executive Management Team including the Vice-Chancellor, Principals, Pro Vice-Chancellors, University Bursar and University Registrar as well as the Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Campus Bursars and Campus Registrars; along with the senior management team of the UHWI, including the Chief Executive Officer, the Senior Director of Clinical Services and the Senior Director of Finance.

When the TAC meetings commenced on Tuesday, March 8, the Opening Ceremony’s agenda which was chaired by Mrs. Andrea McNish, University Bursar/Chief Financial Officer at The UWI, comprised a keynote address by the Honourable Charles Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands, as well as remarks by the Honourable Minister, Rachel Marshall Taylor, and Permanent Secretary, Mr. Wesley Clerveaux from the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment & Customer Services.

Premier Misick signalled his Government’s continued support for The UWI and hailed its achievements and potential as a world, top-ranked institution. He said, “The University’s recent rankings within the top 1.5 percentile in the world according to the Times Higher Education was not happenstance. It took teamwork. Being number one is a major achievement. But maintaining that spot will require tenable support; support from regional governments. Excellence in education costs money. Turks and Caicos agrees with Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, that the regional governments’ funding to this institution should be viewed as an investment and not an expenditure…We are pleased with the contributions that our UWI graduates are making to society.”

The Honourable Minister, Rachel Marshall Taylor who shared similar sentiments, noted, “Many of our residents are alumni of The University of the West Indies and I firmly believe that it is because of their UWI experience that many if not all of them are making positive contributions to nation-building and the economic growth that this country is definitely experiencing. This country is poised for new and continuous growth because through deliberate and decisive action we’ve tapped into the services of The University of the West Indies to assist us with building capacity and addressing the human development gaps that we have identified.…”

Speaking more pointedly to the budget, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Wesley Clerveaux stated, “We appreciate the efforts made by various campuses to improve efficiency and plans to cut cost while at the same time maintaining our standing…as we know too well, education is not cheap, only talk is cheap. Sacrifices must be made and a renewed commitment to the sustainable financing of the University is the order of the day.”

The meeting’s opening ceremony also included cultural performances by the Clement Howell and Louise Garland Thomas High Schools in Turks and Caicos, produced and directed by Mr. David Bowen.

Following these TAC meetings, the University’s Grants Committees (UGCs) are expected to review and approve the TACs’ recommendations and advance them to The UWI’s Annual Business Meeting of Council for final approval on April 29, 2022.