August 2015

Issue Home >>


Message from the Principal: Welcome to The UWI, St. Augustine South Campus, Penal-Debe

As many may already know, through various reports in the media, one phase of The UWI St. Augustine South Campus at Penal-Debe, was celebrated with a ‘Topping-off’ ceremony that took place on 31 July, 2015. As part of the occasion, there was a handing over ceremony of the Deed of ownership, in addition to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by the Honourable Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Chancellor of our University, Sir George Alleyne. In essence, this facility is an extension of The UWI St. Augustine Campus in the Southland, and as such, the administrative functions of this South Campus will still be undertaken by the management of the St. Augustine Campus. What we are doing at St Augustine mirrors what our Mona Campus has done, by establishing a Western Jamaica Campus at Montego Bay.

I also wish to note that while it is with great pride that we recognize the Faculty of Law as the flagship Faculty of our South Campus (just as our Faculty of Medical Sciences is at Mount Hope); it is not the only discipline that will be housed there. It was not conceptualized in this way. The South Campus will have the capacity to host programmes from all our Faculties, and I expect the Faculties of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education and Engineering to take the lead here. It is also entirely conceivable that an educational Centre of Excellence in Medical Sciences can be created which is linked to the new Teaching and Learning Hospital in San Fernando and the San Fernando General Hospital. In addition, the South Campus will be a home for ROYTEC, which is now owned by The UWI, and hopefully in the near future, a home for the UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (ALJGSB) in the South. Also worth noting is the fact that our Faculty of Food and Agriculture has already established a ten acre citrus orchard on the South Campus and we are beginning to see the fruits of our labours! One day, I hope to see our Faculty of Food and Agriculture be the flagship Faculty at our East Campus in Orange Grove. Even as I write, observers passing on the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway opposite Trincity Mall will see the beginning of our new Agriculture Field Station taking shape there also.

The possibilities are limitless as we look to the future of The UWI St. Augustine South Campus, Penal-Debe and more broadly, the expansion of our mandate; one where knowledge generation and transmission will drive the creation of sustainable societies. Over the last decade, our St Augustine Campus has had to become much more decentralized as we seek to discharge our duties and reach out to our diverse stakeholders. The St Augustine Campus itself has grown tremendously; we now have just over 19,000 students and 3,000 staff members. Physical expansion beyond our St. Augustine Campus so as not to take away from the greenery and beauty of our Campus, the home of the former Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) was therefore a necessity.

We are confident that our South Campus, when fully developed and mature would rival any University in the world for its stunning setting and greenery – situated on the rolling hills just beyond San Fernando; our second city. I have said before, that the St Augustine Campus was a great catalyst for the development of the East-West corridor, and in particular the areas of Mt. Hope, St. Joseph, Curepe, Tunapuna, El Dorado, Valsayn and Kelly etc., and I have always commended our leaders of that time, for their vision in getting the St Augustine Campus started after the Mona Campus in Jamaica. So too, do I thank the leaders of this time, for really supporting the vision of the University in getting the South Campus built and operational.

The creation of the new Campus is a positive step in bringing higher education closer to those who would have in the past, been at a considerable disadvantage in attending such a prestigious regional institution. In keeping with the global thrust of many other international institutions of higher education to engage larger student catchment areas, we at The UWI will continue to find ways to bring education to the doorsteps of our students. I appreciate the value of expanding our institution into the geographical area of the South and reaching out to such students in particular. It is equally significant to consider the immense benefits of the many possible ways in which the presence of the University itself, can contribute to the growth and development of the entire area of San Fernando/Penal-Debe, similar to the way in which the St. Augustine Campus transformed the East-West corridor.

The UWI will be the driver for the development of support services in this community. The sporting facilities for Cricket and Football that will form part of the South Campus and International Standard Cricket and Football fields are now nearing completion. Over the last ten years, the area of Penal-Debe has had a reputation for producing some of the best sportsmen; in particularly in cricket. It is our intention to engage the community in a sustainable way in further promoting and facilitating the development of sports in that area. Our thrust to institutionalising sports at all The UWI Campuses is now gaining momentum and our facilities at the South Campus will have a key role to play in these plans. Our presence and the inescapable value that would be added to the surrounding communities go well beyond the walls of the classrooms. This South Campus will have a catalytic effect for growth and I am confident that when we look back in history to this time, this would have been demonstrated. There is a pressing need for all of us in Trinidad and Tobago to imagine a shared future and then work steadily, without interruption and despite the trials and challenges of the times, to create it. The search for that which is good and progressive must be relentless.

While the primary business of The UWI is that of higher learning and education, and to produce distinguished professionals in different fields, it is reasonable to conclude that our broader responsibility and long-term objectives are to improve the quality and standard of living for all, with some ways being more direct than others. Progress may not occur overnight, and with most things it will take time to get the vision of the South Campus made into a reality. Notwithstanding, I am truly proud that we have made the first big step, with the foundation stone already being laid.


Campus Principal: Professor Clement Sankat
Director of Marketing and Communications: Dr. Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill
Editor: (Ag) Rebecca Robinson []

Contact us:
The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002 exts. 82013, 83997