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UB holds Charter Celebration Ceremony in Grand Bahama
By Robyn Adderley
May 1, 2017 - 12:22:13 PM

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CELEBRATING UB - Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. the Hon. Michael Darville; President of the University of The Bahamas, Dr. Rodney Smith; Sarah St. George, Vice Chairman, Grand Bahama Port Authority; senior government officials, and members of the business community gathered at the Northern Campus site on Thursday, April 27, for the Charter Celebration Ceremony and Plaque Unveiling. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

Freeport, Grand Bahama - Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. the Hon. Michael Darville, congratulated the government and staff of the University of The Bahamas Northern Campus during their Charter Celebration Ceremony and Plaque Unveiling on Thursday, April 27.

Also present for the historical occasion were President of the University of The Bahamas, Dr. Rodney Smith; Dr. Earl Cash, chairman of the Board of Trustees; Ms. Sarah St. George, Vice Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority; Melvin Seymour, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Grand Bahama; other government department heads and managers and executives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

Minister Darville during his address said, "the Father of our Nation, in a speech entitled Vision Renewed, admonished our country’s leaders that the people of our nation are the most precious resource, over and above all natural and material resources, and as a result, national prosperity is measured by the quality of the health, education and social environment and self-esteem of its people. It was this belief, that we must educate and prepare our young people, in order to ensure that they are empowered, and as a result, able to contribute to the growth and development of this island, and the country as a whole, which led to the establishment of The College of the Bahamas, the most prominent tertiary level education institution in a post Independent Bahamas, by an Act of Parliament, on October 30, 1974."

Referencing the college’s mandate, "to provide a place of education, learning and research of a standard required and expected of a College of the highest standard," the Minister further stated the institution has expanded by leaps and bounds. "Specifically, a new College of The Bahamas Act was passed by parliament in 1995, which changed the nomenclature of the executive team from Principal to President, and positions of vice-presidents were established. Because of the 1995 Act, The College was given the authority to grant Bachelor’s degrees and was afforded greater autonomy for its financial and administrative affairs.

"Nonetheless, ladies and gentlemen, it was in May, 2002, under the first Christie-lead PLP Administration, the government of The Bahamas announced its intention to transition The College of The Bahamas into a University. Then Minister of Education, The Honourable Alfred Sears affirmed the government's commitment by beginning the work, which, continued to its fruition in 2016, when this Christie administration passed the University of the Bahamas Act through Parliament, making the transition official."

(BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

Describing the day as historical and monumental, as it is now a reality that the College of The Bahamas is the University of The Bahamas. Along with this, he said, will come Today is both a monumental and historic one, as that vision and as such, upgrades to the tools and facilities can be expected.

Located on 220 acres of land, donated by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the facility houses 18 classrooms, four faculty offices, a library, computer and science laboratories, a bookstore, cafe and conference room, along with an administrative area.

Minister Darville said, "in our Charter of Governance, this administration pledged to double the investment in education. I am pleased to note that we have doubled the budget for annual scholarships, established the new Training and Empowerment public-private sector partnership at the Grand Bahama Shipyard; and we have made a deliberate and conscious effort to reach out to those persons, who may not be as proficient in academics, but highly skilled and talented in technical areas, through our Fresh Start program, and National Training Agency.

"It is this government’s intention to fully utilize the remaining one hundred seventy (170) acres of land, and to continue the development of the Northern Campus of The University of the Bahamas. As we are gathered, ongoing construction of a new state-of-the-art dormitory is taking place, and plans are firmly in place to increase the educational offerings at our northern campus.

"With the expansion of this campus, we anticipate that entrepreneurs from around the Northern Bahamas will have opportunities to establish new businesses on the campus, and in the surrounding areas. We will also work to see a new housing sub-division established in the immediate area as well; which will foster the creation of an entirely new community on the island of Grand Bahama, centered around this campus. "

It is hoped, he continued, that with the expansion of the campus, it will not only attract more local, but international students as well as the Caribbean. This will most certainly enhance the local economy.

Minister Darville congratulated the executive team, staff and students of the University of The Bahamas Northern Campus, and encouraged them to "reach for your highest goals, as we move forward together to build our university, our island and our country."

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