News Releases

Principal of The UWI Five Islands reports successful ‘firsts’ at inaugural Campus Council Meeting

For Release Upon Receipt - April 14, 2020


The University of the West Indies’ new Five Islands Campus in Antigua and Barbuda, crossed yet another milestone on Monday, April 6, 2020, when its Council met for the first time. In a virtual meeting setting, members of the Campus Council, chaired by Mr Aziz Hadeed, heard a report on the campus’ accomplishments since its opening in September 2019. The report which was presented by Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Stafford Griffith, highlighted many firsts for the campus and an overall success in operations to establish a fully functional UWI campus to better serve the OECS.

Considered the annual business meetings of the regional University, Campus Council meetings are a fundamental aspect of accountability for The UWI, at which the Principals of each of its campuses report to their governing bodies on all activities undertaken over the last academic year to the Council membership and larger stakeholder community. 

During his presentation, Professor Griffith reported that over the past seven months the campus staged its first matriculation ceremony, conducted its first end-of-semester examinations; hosted its first international seminar; installed its first student guild and president, and celebrated its first official student guild activity. He also noted that in the campus’ first year of recruitment, a total of 200 students were enrolled and that the aim is to double enrolment each year, over the next three years. Professor Griffith spoke extensively of the unwavering institutional support as well as endorsement and assistance received from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda. In 2019, he also visited six OECS countries and met with members of government and education officials to determine how best their development needs could be served through the campus.

In addition, Professor Griffith gave some insight into the campus’ response to COVID-19. He indicated that a working group has been established at the campus to manage the response to the pandemic and guide on mitigating operational challenges during this period. Among these include the implementation of distance teaching until national stay-at-home advisories are removed.

Interim Campus Director of Academic Affairs, Hyram Forde was given the opportunity to speak to the preparation, administration and results of the first examinations, concluding they were a success. Interim Director of Finance and Administration, Daniella Hickling also addressed the Council members, highlighting aspects of student administration, services and support, human resources, facilities and maintenance, and information technology.  A report from first student guild President, Caleb Gardiner was also part of the meeting’s proceedings.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles congratulated Professor Griffith and the entire UWI Five Islands team for assuring successful pursuit and implementation of The UWI’s strategic plan. The Vice-Chancellor stated, “It is an historic time for education.” He added, “This is the best of times, for the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda, the OECS states, the Caribbean region, and The UWI in bringing this Five Islands Campus into full operation. It is the worst of times in that we are doing this within the context of a global pandemic that is threatening to destroy all that we have created and is an existential threat to the civilisation of the Caribbean.” 

Chairman of the Five Islands Campus Council, Mr Hadeed expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve in the role. He underscored the unique circumstances of hosting the milestone event via videoconference while the country was adhering to a 24-hour lockdown and health and safety protocols.

The proceedings of the open session of Campus Council Meetings are traditionally made available for public viewing/participation via UWItv as part of The UWI’s commitment to transparency and engagement of its stakeholders. A closed virtual meeting was held in this instance due to the conditions resulting from the global COVID-19 pandemic. A recording of the proceedings will air on UWItv cable channels on Flow EVO, on Wednesday, April 15, at 4:30 pm (AST) and Friday, April 17, at 10:30 am (AST).




About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit

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