New dorms at UB North a part of schools overall development

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest (fourth from right), along with Dr. Rodney Smith, President of the University of the Bahamas, cuts the ribbon to officially open Hawksbill Hall, the new dormitories at UB North, following an official ceremony on Monday, May 7, 2018. (Photos BIS/Lisa Davis)

Brand new dorms for students enrolled at the University of The Bahamas’ (UB) Northern campus were officially opened yesterday and are a part of the school’s overall development in order to meet the needs of the island’s growing population, according to the nation’s deputy leader.

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Member of Parliament (MP) for East Grand Bahama Peter Turnquest said, the development of UB – in every aspect, is important, not just for the development of Grand Bahama, but for the development of all Bahamians.

He explained that the expansion of UB’s Northern campus will give the university an opportunity to expand its offerings, diversify the economy and the skills available.

He said there is also the need to significantly accelerate the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony for Hawksbill Hall on Monday, May 7, 2018. The new facility will allow students to live on campus, while attending the University. Minister Turnquest said this will be extremely beneficial to Family Island students.

“The only way we can do that is to further deepen our economy and sectors of the economy that we have,” Turquest, also the Minister of Finance said, as he addressed invited guests gathered for the ribbon cutting at the new dormitories.

“And in order to do that – to attract the talent and investment that we need – we need to have trained persons.  So as we develop this campus and as the university expands its offerings, we look forward to the growth that will happen as a result.

“It’s something for us to be very proud of as we move on in our independence and development as a country. Because we know that in order for us to achieve the level of true independence that we seek, to develop the skills and the talents that we need, in order to take advantage of all that this country has to offer, we need skilled individuals, who are born and bred right here, whose loyalties are right here and whose interests are right here.

“So, this is a very significant evolution in the University of the Bahamas system. And we are certainly very proud.”

Minister Turnquest suggested that UB North has a particularly important opportunity to assist in the development of Grand Bahama as a whole and noted that Grand Bahama is one of the most diversified economies in the country, because of its ability to be proficient in the industrial and the tourism sectors at the same time.

However, he said that as the country grows, development in other aspects of the economy will become critical..

“The need to establish the tech hub here in Grand Bahama becomes critical because the world is getting more and more competitive, where it is not so much about what you produce, but about the knowledge that you produce and export to the world.”

During its recent election campaign, government made numerous promises regarding tertiary education, one of which was the offer of free tuition to every student throughout the country, but more particularly to Family Island student.

Government also recently approved a private/public partnership (PPP) that will see a significant number of dormitories being constructed at the campus in the capital.

Hawksbill Hall at the UB North campus is said to be the result of a generous $3 million gift from the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and is named in recognition of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, which established a free trade zone as an economic stimulus for the island.

The new student residential facility accommodates approximately 80 students with numerous amenities including a cafeteria, laundry facilities, student lounge, Wi-Fi access, gym, computer laboratory and 24-hour security.