The Grenville Phillips Column – Ross University – Hip Hip Hooray

Barbados is fortunate to have Ross University relocating here, and our Prime Minister deserves credit for facilitating the move. This was a win for everyone: the University, which would have a wonderful location in the true land-of-the-free; the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC), which would be able to pay its bills and not be a drain on tax payers; but most importantly, ordinary households.

The severe austerity is impacting those with home mortgages, and to have the reported 1,000 students plus 300 staff paying perhaps $1,000 per month for a room in someone’s house, may save the house from foreclosure. If the mortgage has already been paid, then the money can be used to invest in the education of their children.

The immediate beneficiaries would likely have been those in close proximity to the LESC, who would have likely benefitted slimily as those near the University of the West Indies. However, given the LESC’s favourable location and Barbados’ radial road network, anyone living near Highways 4, 5 and 6 would have an advantage since it would be one bus ride to and from LESC.

Many homes are already prepared to host the students and staff, having upgraded their houses to accommodate visitors for the Cricket World Cup. The level of interaction should be beneficial to the families since these are post-graduate students, and the exchange of ideas can only benefit both parties. Well done Barbados!

Yesterday, to my dismay, I read that all Barbadian households were disqualified from offering their houses as accommodation to the students and staff. I learnt that only those small houses in the Coverley residential development, which are located far away from LESC, were approved for Ross University students and staff. I felt sick reading that even if students wanted to have accommodation at a Barbadian household, that they could not.

Something did not seem right. Certainly Ross University would correct this offensive news report, but it remained unchallenged. Hence, this article.

Why is this offensive behaviour being tolerated in Barbados? Everyone in a free country has the right to seek accommodation that they can afford. Even in countries that limit personal freedoms, like Cuba, Russia, China and North Korea, people can still choose to select affordable accommodations.

In Barbados, the only persons who do not have the choice of accommodations are inmates detained at Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP) Dodds, the Psychiatric Hospital, and those who choose a military type regimen like the Youth Service and the Defence Force. Everyone else has a constitutional right to personal liberty where they can seek affordable accommodations.

Is there no lawyer in Barbados who can request a judicial review of this offensive contract? Is there no person at the Fair Trading Commission who can make a determination of the fairness of this contract? Why are we tolerating having Barbados’ reputation being damaged in this manner?

It actually gets worse, as if that were even possible. These approximately 1,000 sq ft area houses are reportedly being rented to accommodate 4 persons, who must each pay approximately US$1,000 per month in rent. What???

This rent is so ridiculously high that those 4 students can pool their rent money for 3 years and easily purchase the house that they are renting. They can then sell it, share it as a vacation home, or rent it to other students after they graduate? Clearly they would not even need to consider something so extreme if the rent was reasonable, but to not consider this investment opportunity would be financially irresponsible of them.

It is a well-known maxim that to understand what is really going on, one should follow the money. It has been reported that the houses at Coverley were not selling as expected. It seems that only a few favoured people are supposed to benefit from the relocation of Ross University.

While homeowners and others may mourn the loss of this economic opportunity, the real victims are the unsuspecting students – who are to be incarcerated at HMP Coverly.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

237 thoughts on “The Grenville Phillips Column – Ross University – Hip Hip Hooray

  1. Piece

    I am from that part of Bush Hall where a yellow belly like you dear not walk old man …. where you have to prove yourself as a man by any mean necessary … yah got mah … and that is why when I walk through inner city ghettos of America I fear no boy old man …

  2. Piece

    I am from that part of Bush Hall where a yellow belly like you dear not walk old man …. where you have to prove yourself as a man by any mean necessary … yah got mah … and that is why when I walk through inner city ghettos of America I fear no boy old man …

  3. Piece
    You know why dem police men lived on de main road because de bad boys came from Bush Hall Yardgap … Wade Gibbons was borned in Bush Hall yardgap anything more …

  4. @Hants
    Something not adding up, Maloney is touted as being a man who gets the better of every deal yet this Gov’t was able to sell land to him for “three times the worth”.

    I’ll bet we haven’t heard the (w)hole story

  5. Article by
    Barbados Today
    Published on
    January 16, 2019
    At 62, he’s finding it hard. His children live overseas and he cannot find a job.

    That’s what Farley Nigel Smith of Hothersal Turning, St. Michael, told Acting Magistrate Anika Jackson today when he appeared before her in the District ‘A Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to stealing one toenail clip valued $6.99 belonging to Massy Stores on January 15, 2019. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail.
    That is what passes for sentencing in Barbados, all for the theft of a toenail clip valued at $6.99. They should remove the title “Acting” from this Magistrate, she can remake the Barbados Economy by having the Gov’t build more jails to house petty thieves.

  6. @ Sargeant

    You quoted and I requote

    “…pleading guilty to stealing one toenail clip valued $6.99 belonging to Massy Stores on January 15, 2019. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail…”

    I shall share with you this seemingly convoluted reasoning and the disproportionate sentencing administered by the acting Magistrate

    6 + 9 + 9 = 24

    The man’s relatives are overseas in America and the exchange rate is 2 dollars to 1

    24 ÷ 2 = 12

    Further the man is 62 and 6 x 2 = 12

    What is your problem with Magistrate Anika Jackson?

    If de ole man Grandson was up I’d have him do a poster about this idiocy

    Assuredly this Anika should be awarded a knighthood like Sir Mugabe

    She probably is going to be shortlisted as one of the 3 additional justices Minister Dale Smiley Teets going hire to help fast lane the 10 years of cases that they have on the front burner


  7. The question is “what is worth”? Ross students provide a guaranteed rental base, I am surprised he isn’t building 4 5-story apt blocks. With such a cash flow machine to be placed on the land, who is calculating worth? It has to be worth more than if you wished to plant it in cane? And I suspect there is some guarantee Ross students will be housed there, as opposed to some competing accommodations elsewhere. Who is paying to transport the students to campus? This is part of the housing deal too?

  8. @Saargeant,

    Thank you. This idiocy passes as justice in our little island, no doubt supported by the mass of people. In reality, it is savagery. Punishing people for being poor.

  9. @Hal

    Absolutely. Anytime I read the courts section of the daily local rag I have to shake my head in disgust. Totally disproportionate, inhumane sentences for very,very petty crimes. But the saddest part is that no one raises an eyebrow, says a word.

    Not one of the 1100+ lawyers. Not the BU’s own Jeff Cumberbatch.

    Yet we talk rubbish about punching above weight.

    Bunch of savages.

  10. In the past I have often mentioned where the time seem disproportionate for the crime, This applies not only for silly articles for a toe-nail clipper but for small items of food to quench one’s hunger or thirst.

    This is worst than savagery. It is a brutal war against the poorest and the hungriest on the island. It is almost as if some remnant of an old repressive slave law remains on our books,

    One could argue that these extremes sentences afford these poor folks housing and food for an extended period of time, but this approach does not solve the basic problem and is tantamount top kicking the can down the road.

    Meanwhile, we play the silly games we play with knighthoods an titles. It is a strange place,

  11. Meanwhile, we play the silly games with knighthoods an titles. It is a strange place,
    Too early to be correcting typos

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