Last update: 06-Dec-2013 8:12 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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UWI not for drinking, liming
Alcohol, liming and crime. These were the main issues addressed by The University of the West Indies (UWI) Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal Prof Clement Sankat as he spoke to new students at an orientation ceremony at the St Augustine campus yesterday. Sankat told the students the institution is an alcohol-free zone and warned them about excessive liming and alcohol consumption.
“Drinking too much and liming too much will take you down a wrong path. The last thing we want to hear about UWI is that students here are drinking. This is an alcohol-free campus where smoking is not permitted in the classroom.” A new independence and freedom came with the start of their tertiary education but this must be accompanied by responsibility, he told the students. “You have to practise self-control and discipline,” he told the sober, young faces.
Sankat, speaking on the issue of crime on the campus, said he will not be sweeping the problem under the carpet. “Security is a major issue in the country. This principal will not be hiding (this fact).” He told the students he did not want to alarm them but urged them to take their personal security into their own hands. He said students from far-flung areas who live around the campus, like on Watts Street in Curepe, and in Tunapuna, need to pay attention to security and practise safe habits.
“Do not walk the streets at nights alone. Walk in groups or take the shuttle. Residences have been broken into and laptops stolen. You have got to take charge of your security.” Sankat reminded the students they needed to wear their ID cards at all times to identify that they attend the institution.
He said the campus has put several security measures in place, including CCTVs, a police post, canine patrols and emergency telephones. He told the new students to write down the campus’ security hotline number, 662 4123. Sankat also urged the students to pay extra attention to their schoolwork saying that if they didn’t, they risk not getting further assistance from the Government-Assisted Tertiary Education (GATE) programme.
“The screws are tightening on GATE. You are required to have a grade-point average. If you don’t make it, you may not come back in.” Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, addressing the students, told them she attended and lectured at all three campuses and they were the best years of her life. “I have very fond memories, as a student and as a lecturer. UWI has formed a central part of the journey to the office I now hold.”
The PM said 17 other former students of UWI went on to become prime ministers in the Caribbean. “You should feel a deep sense of pride as you join UWI.” She warned that the time goes by very quickly and noted she is now a parent and grand-parent. “Time waits for no one. Take advantage of the opportunity to excel in your discipline.”
She said education should not just be about learning something more but about becoming something better and urged the students to concentrate on building strong families and communities. This will help alleviate crime, she said. Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim told the students the Golconda to Debe highway was opened yesterday and would help students commuting from those areas to UWI.
Persad-Bissessar said the Penal/Debe campus and Law Faculty will be constructed on 150 acres of land so students will not have to travel at all to St Augustine and rent apartments.
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