In Berbice, the University of Guyana Berbice Campus (UGBC) is a vital institution. It has been transformed into this by the vision and good leadership of Prof Daizal Samad. Under his guidance it is now a respected learning centre, an institution that is flexible and can educate and help to make Berbice better. Farmers can now have assistance in identifying plant diseases and display better care for their crops through access to agri scientists and students.
When dead fish washed up and worms were found in fish, UGBC did the lab and student study. The country as a whole benefits from programmes to assist with police training and teacher training; the community benefits from using its grounds to put on cultural and religious shows; and businesses have access to consult with staff for research and development. Under the Professor, no one is left out.
Prof Samad‘s vision is to make this institution a body that serves the people of Berbice. His doors are open to the public, he is open to ideas and he is a Berbician who lives here and understands the problems facing the people.
He maintains that UGBC must always be a positive influence in Berbice to support the creation of new jobs with more skills, technologies, better education, and applying high standards and best practices. He does not believe in mediocrity; he believes in excellence. He also believes that every one of us can learn from the other and strive to be a little kinder, more compassionate and respectful to our fellow Berbicians. And this is the way he serves UGBC and Berbice – with respect, love and care.
When he arrived at UGBC the situation was different. UGBC was a laughing stock with no respect. Many parents objected to their children attending it because of the poor quality of the teaching and the absenteeism of the lecturers; it was a place of ill repute and poor security. In short, many said to me that it was a place to waste time. The serious students stressed that they had to tough it out – what else to do?
The UGBC today is very much changed.
It is a respected institution, enrolment is up attracting students from all over Berbice, the students are happy, the faculty is greatly improved in quality, and it is now dedicated to serve all the people of Berbice. I know this because I have seen it with my own eyes.
Prof Samad’s transformation of UGBC is not complete. He believes that at UGBC excellence must be a habit, great service the norm, and the campus must be a leader for growth in the economy through its graduates who will be entrepreneurs in all sorts of businesses. He also believes it should produce enough trained and qualified persons for the future skills required, and that Berbicians must not eke out a living but must have good jobs, earn decent wages and live in a safe and secure Berbice.
This is not a person who is about himself. Professor Samad respects us, the simple taxpayers. He asks us to question him. Who else does that?
I support the extension of Prof Samad’s tenure so that he can continue his good work at UGBC and in Berbice and Guyana. Let us remove any uncertainty as to the continuity of the programmes he has developed and those who believe in his vision and are working assiduously for the benefit of the campus and the people and children of Berbice and Guyana.