News Releases

Topping-off’ ceremony marks milestone in construction of The UWI St. Augustine South Campus

For Release Upon Receipt - August 6, 2015

St. Augustine

A long-standing tradition in the construction industry, ‘topping-off’ ceremonies often signal the end of one phase of a building project. On Friday July 31, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus continued this tradition with a ceremonial ‘topping-off’ to acknowledge progress of construction works at its new satellite campus, The UWI St. Augustine South Campus, Penal-Debe. The event was also the occasion for the official handover of the lease agreement for the site, a ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.

Chancellor of The UWI, Sir George Alleyne; Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles; and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI St. Augustine, Professor Clement Sankat welcomed the ceremony’s Feature Speaker, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar SC, who presented The UWI St. Augustine with the lease agreement to the land which gives The UWI St. Augustine use of the lands for 99 years. In his remarks, Vice-Chancellor Beckles described it as “a wonderful UWI moment,” acknowledging the South Campus as the largest single investment in The UWI of any Caribbean government in the past 50 years.

This satellite campus of The UWI St. Augustine helps advance The UWI’s mission, vision and core values as outlined in its 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. Accessibility, one of seven core values outlined in the Strategic Plan, speaks to continued expansion of the university to reach underserved populations. In his remarks, Professor Sankat aligned the South Campus to the university’s accessibility thrust, calling the event a historic one for Trinidad and Tobago as for the first time it will give persons living in south Trinidad “close access to a state-of-the-art facility and a quality tertiary education opportunity” provided by The UWI, the region’s premier higher education institution.

President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Brigadier David A. Granger, gave a special address to those in attendance, a cross section of Ministers of Government, members of the Diplomatic Corps and staff of The UWI. His Excellency, an alum of The UWI, was a special guest at the ceremony, which coincided with a scheduled visit to Trinidad and Tobago and The UWI St. Augustine. Also speaking at the event were Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training, the Honourable Fazal Karim and Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Dr the Honourable Roodal Moonilal, in his capacity as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Oropouche East, in which the South Campus is located.

In 2010, the Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago approved the allocation of lands for the construction of South Campus in Penal-Debe with a goal of expanding The UWI St. Augustine to meet current and future demands. The campus, located in the vicinity of the Debe High School in south Trinidad, is bounded by the new Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway extension, Papourie Road and the M2 Ring Road. The current construction works on 30 acres of the northern portion of the site comprises approximately 20,000 square metres of building space. Construction works commenced in August 2012 and are about 75% complete, with overall completion scheduled for the last quarter of 2015. The first student intake is earmarked for January 2016.

In its first phase of operations, the South Campus will house The UWI St. Augustine’s Faculty of Law. The last quarter of 2015 is expected to be a transitional period as Law faculty and staff relocate from St. Augustine to Penal-Debe in preparation for the student intake. In order to make this facility the premier learning institution that is envisioned, phase one of the project also includes a student dormitory, a student union and sporting and recreational facilities including cricket and football fields, cricket pavilion, swimming pool and hard courts. 



About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)