Barbados: estudiantes salen a las calles para protestar contra el fin de la matrícula gratuita

UWI students taking fees protest to the streets

The waiting game continues for the Guild of Student of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus as they look for government to “return to the table to discuss its proposal over tuition fees outlined in the 2013/2014 Budget”.

President Damani Parris told The Barbados Advocate in an interview yesterday, ahead of planned peaceful protest action this morning, that they were still holding out some hope.

“Up to this point, we are still awaiting the Government of Barbados to come back to the table. We have, as we had indicated before [through] Sir Roy Trotman, that we are indeed hoping that he can mediate on our behalf in negotiations, and requests have been made to that extent.

“But the Guild will still continue to advance and increase its protest at other levels. Because of the state of the environment right now, we simply want the public to understand, as well as the student body, that we are not dropping the issue. It is in the interest of our student body,” he stressed, dismissing suggestions that the Guild’s insistence on speaking out on the matter was akin to flogging a dead horse.

According to him, if it is not given the prominence it deserves, the situation runs the risk of getting out of hand.

“We cannot allow this thinking that this issue has gone on, a decision has been made and all is lost and that it is hopeless for us to prevail. That is not how democracy works. To do that is to say that we are electing kings and not representatives. Because of how our democratic system works and has always worked, it is a philosophical position for us to agitate against things that we do not agree with and see as being detrimental.

“It is ridiculous for us to suggest that our country is supposed to be run by people whom we choose every five years and that’s it, and that they don’t need to listen to us between these five year intervals. That is a crazy idea. With keeping this issue on the front burners we are seeking to keep the electorate and the people we place in high office aware of what our concerns are and have them addressed,” Parris stated.

The Guild therefore intends take to the streets of Bridgetown this morning in peaceful protest of government’s move to make Barbadians pay their full tuition at UWI from the 2014 academic year.

“We will be leaving at 9 a.m. in a route that will move from Jubilee Gardens to Independence Square. When we get to Independence Square, we will have a number of speeches and we will also hear the concerns of those marching with us. We will air our views and demonstrate in that area because of our concern and displeasure with this government policy.

“This, as I have said in the past, is but one of the steps that the Guild will be taking to address this issue. It [the issue] is one that we believe needs more education and discussion going on in the public domain about it,” he noted.