Tension Between Hilary Beckles and the Barbados Government Continues
Brooks distinguishes two sorts of virtues: resumé virtues and eulogy virtues. Resumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace: wealth, fame, status and a great career. Eulogy virtues are the things people will say about you at your funeral: that you were honest, loving, and steadfast. Most of us would say that eulogy virtues are more important, but it’s the resumé virtues we tend to think about the most – About David Brooks latest book The Road to Character
In has become the norm for local leaders in civil society to shout at each other rather than adopt more civilized and constructive methods of engagement. The latest salvo has come from the taciturn Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart who saw merit in bellowing a message to outgoing principal of the Cave Hill Campus, UWI Hilary Beckles on the weekend. The point of contention for Stuart is the criticism by Beckles that a cutback in financial support by government will translate to a social cost especially on working class women.
The first observation independent minded observers are forced to make is that both Beckles and Stuart have low creditability when addressing the issue of the current state of education provided by Cave Hill, UWI. Beckles cannot expect to exponentially expand student intake at the campus without soliciting the buyin of the government. A growing student enrolment has financial implication for the public purse at a time when government is cash strapped. Surely government and the principal of Cave Hill must appreciate the benefit of removing the politics from the issue.
On the flipside we have a prime minister who led a government which promised not to change tuition arrangement at Cave Hill. Given the importance of education in the minds of all Barbadians whether working, middle or upperclass there is no doubt government’s position at the time influenced many who voted in 2013. The fact the prime minister and government has recanted on its position confirms the widely known maxim that a promise [by a politician] is comfort for a fool. The more literal among us maybe within their right to call the prime minister a liar.
What cannot be disputed is that there has been a significant reduction in student intake at Cave Hill – 1,468 students registered in 2014 compared to 2,240 in 2013; a direct response to government’s policy declared in the 2013-14 budget by minister Chris Sinckler that students at Cave Hill will pay tuition fees while the government continues to pay economic cost. Surprisingly minister Sinckler was reported on recently in the news pledging government’s commitment to work with stakeholders to get the numbers back up [BU’s emphasis on numbers]. Surely all agree there is a good relationship between an educated citizenry and crime along with other social ills.
The case of a prime minister of a country and a principal of the premier tertiary institution braying like jackasses for all hither, thither, and yon to witness, both having been educated at Cave Hill, provokes the question about the quality of education being delivered on the Hill. It speaks to a crisis of leadership on both sides we should be concerned.
What is so difficult for the UWI alumni to resolve a few problems and share vision over a rum and coke and a pork chop on a 2×3 island?