(CMC) Caribbean governments owe the University of the west Indies (UWI) more than US$100 million and as a result the regional tertiary institution says it is “very concerned” about the situation.UWI Vice Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles, presenting his report to the University Council, said last year a company was contracted to look at the financial strength of the university, which has campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
He said the company reported that the university was facing financial challenges and there must be restructuring in its internal operations and generate more revenue. “They are saying that we are going to be in significant financial difficulty unless we are able to get an annual injection of US$75 million,” he said.
“That is where the rubber hits the road because at the moment the debt owing to this university by the governments of the Caribbean is US$105 million,” Sir Hilary said, adding they are saying to us if we don’t collect these receivables, we are going to be in trouble as a university.”
Beckles described the financial situation as a damaging situation “because without a budget there is no campus”.
The Barbadian born academic said that during a recent meeting of the University Grants Committee with Caribbean governments “unfortunately all of our budgets were not discussed because not all governments were able to make commitments, an unfortunate development, that have never happened before.”
He said the university will have to engage new instruments to raise the required capital for the next five-year developmental plan.
Beckles said that regional governments were contributing less than 50 per cent to the overall operations of the UWI.