Is There Trouble Brewing Around Appointment of Next UWI Chancellor?

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Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Saturday, 22 April 2017 “The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has noted, with surprise, the announcement made by Trinidad & Tobago’s Minister of Education, Mr. Anthony Garcia at a post-Cabinet media briefing earlier today, on the subject of the appointment of a new UWI Chancellor.

The University Administration wishes to take this opportunity to indicate that Chancellors are appointed in accordance with the University’s Statute 4 which clearly states, “The Chancellor shall be appointed by the University Council.”

The University confirms that over the past few months, it has been working through a specially-appointed Search Committee, to identify an appropriate successor to Sir George Alleyne, who is carded to demit office in the latter half of 2017.

The matter of the appointment of the University’s new Chancellor is an item on the agenda for the upcoming Annual Business Meeting of University Council, set to take place on April 27, 2017, in Barbados. It is at this meeting that a final decision will be made on the new UWI Chancellor.”

According to reports in the Trinidad Express, “Trinidad and Tobago businessman Robert Bermudez has been selected as the next chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI).”

Speaking at the news conference, Trinidad & Tobago’s Minister of Education, Mr. Anthony Garcia said Bermudez was the best candidate from a search conducted by a committee established by the university council.

Garcia said the search committee took Bermu­dez’s wealth of bus­iness experience into consideration.

“It was felt that The University of the West Indies should depend a little less on the coffers of the respective governments and they should try as fast as possible to generate their own funds,” he said.

Bermudez, he said, was unanimously recommended and his appointment represents a “paradigm shift” in the selection of chancellors. Garcia said over the years, contri­buting governments have been bur­­dened in having to support The UWI.

Was the process which was set in place for the meeting of minds in selecting the Chancellor of the UWI circumvented or preempted by the Education Minister’s premature announcement? Did his statement disregard the input of the University Council and the procedures as set forth in the University’s Statute 4?

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