The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I., April 28, 2017 – The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is pleased to announce that Mr. Robert Bermudez has been appointed as its 6th Chancellor. The appointment came after members of the University Council accepted the recommendation of the Search Committee for the Chancellor at the Council’s annual business meeting, held on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at The UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. The appointment of the Chancellor of the regional university is always made in accordance with the University’s Statute 4 which vests this responsibility solely in the Council—the highest governing body of the University.
Now formally Chancellor Designate, Mr. Bermudez is expected to serve a seven-year term beginning on July 16, 2017. He succeeds Sir George Alleyne who has served as Chancellor since 2003. The Chancellor holds the highest office in The UWI system and its powers and responsibilities are laid down in The UWI Charter, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations. The Search Committee selected Mr. Bermudez as the best candidate to fit into the diversity of roles assigned to this office.
Mr. Bermudez, a national of Trinidad and Tobago, has been an entrepreneur for over 40 years. He has led the growth of his family-owned business, to a regional business throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and has enjoyed a distinguished career in business, serving as either Chairman or Board Director for several other corporate bodies in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. His vision for the University outlines a keen sense of the mission, effectiveness, relevance and interdependence of academia and the economy. His professional experience as a Caribbean-wide entrepreneur with business acumen garnered from across the region suggests that he will continue the distinguished tradition of Chancellorship that this University has maintained throughout its history.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Bermudez stated, “The University has had the benefit of a series of very impressive Chancellors who have provided vital insights into its governance. Maintaining the ethical order of the institution is a task not to be taken lightly. To be considered as a successor to Sir George Alleyne is in itself an honour.”
In extending congratulations to the Chancellor Designate, Sir George remarked, “It is a privilege to have served as the Chancellor of my University for the last 13½ years and I was happy to preside over my final meeting of the University Council at which Mr. Robert Bermudez was appointed as Chancellor. I assured Mr. Bermudez that I will be at his service to provide any help he may wish as he transitions into his new role. I am confident that The UWI made the right choice.”
Offering further details on the process, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said, “It was my honour to chair the Search Committee that recommended Mr. Bermudez for the post of Chancellor of The UWI. It was a pleasure to make the case of the committee before the members of Council. Members have the power not to accept any recommendation. For this reason, in such cases there is always a sense of anxiety. It gave me a tremendous sense of pride when Council unanimously rose in support of the case for Mr. Bermudez, a distinguished Caribbean citizen, and welcomed him gloriously into our community. I have no doubt that our Chancellor Designate will preside over the Council of our regional university with dignity and distinction. I am keenly looking forward to working with him in the years ahead as we seek to bend our university into even greater regional service.”
It must be noted there was an outcry from the Council said they were broadsided by the comment of the Trinidad & Tobago Education Minister, Anthony Garcia, who stated that Robert Bermudez would be the next UWI Chancellor.
In a press statement it noted, “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.”
Apparently the tension between the Council and Trinidad Education Minister have been resolved.