(Trinidad Guardian) Trinidad and Tobago businessman Robert Bermudez has been selected as the next chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), in a paradigm shift to enable the university to generate its own funds and become less dependent on State financing.
Bermudez is the second Trinidadian to hold this post, the first being former prime minister Dr Eric Williams.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia made the announcement yesterday at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
Bermudez’ official appointment will take place on April 27. The current chancellor, Sir George Allen, will demit office on July 31, 2017.
Speaking at the news conference, Garcia said Bermudez was the best candidate from a search conducted by a committee established by the university council.
The people short-listed by the search committee were presented to an intersessional Caricom meeting on February 16 and Caricom accepted the recommendation of Bermudez.
Garcia said the search committee took Bermudez’s wealth of business experience into consideration.
“It was felt that The University of the West Indies should depend a little less on the coffers of the respective governments and they should try as fast as possible to generate their own funds,” he said.
Bermudez, he said, was unanimously recommended and his appointment represents a “paradigm shift” in the selection of chancellors. Garcia said over the years, contributing governments have been bur- dened in having to support The UWI.
He disclosed when he attends meetings, he notes the T&T Government expends in excess of $610 million to support The UWI.
The shift, he said, is now in the area of self-sufficiency.
He said this does not mean governments will cease contributing, but there is need for this shift where The UWI can generate its own funds.