The Official Opening Ceremony and Plaque Unveiling for Hawksbill Hall at the University of The Bahamas’ Northern Campus will assist the government in fulfilling one of its promises. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest told invited guests gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new dormitories on UB’s campus on Monday morning, May 7, 2018, that during the campaign trail and following the Free National Movement’s victory at the polls the government made some promises in regards to tertiary education. One of those objectives was the offer of free tuition to every student throughout the country, but more particularly to Family Island students, so that they were not limited by their circumstances. In Nassau, as well, the Government recently approved a Private/Public partnership that will see a significant number of dormitories being constructed at the campus in the capital. The overall aim is to offer tertiary education to all deserving students. Minister Turnquest noted that the development of the University of The Bahamas in every aspect is important, not just for the development of Grand Bahama, but for the development of the people of The Bahamas.
He explained that the development of UB’s Northern campus on East Grand Bahama Highway will give the university an opportunity to expand its offerings, diversify the economy and the skills available. He said that in order to meet the needs of the island’s growing population, there is the need to significantly accelerate the country’s GDP growth: “The only way we can do that is to further deepen our economic and sectors of the economy that we have. 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.”Minister Turnquest congratulated the university for such a momentous step in Grand Bahama, as they make every effort to extend the academic system:
“That is a very significant point to recognize, that the University of The Bahamas is developing into a system of campuses and programs while fulfilling its mandate to assist in the development of the Bahamian people and the entire country.”
“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 the University of The Bahamas in Grand Bahama has a particularly important opportunity to assist in the development of Grand Bahama as a whole. He 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. Other aspects, like the technology sector. “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.” Minister Turnquest noted that the Bahamas is about to enter the final stretch of negotiations with respect to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and this will necessitate some significant changes in the way the government does business. “It will also necessitate our ability and the need to be more innovative and to be more efficient in what we do,” said Minister Turnquest. “The Government of the Bahamas has engaged upon a modernization exercise in the way we do business and the way we interact with the citizens of the country.
“We are looking at creating a one-stop shop portal so that citizens will be able to access services from the government – corporate citizens or individual (private) citizens, so that we make the process seamless and efficient, but we also reduce the opportunities for corruption and inefficiencies.” Hawksbill Hall at the UB-North campus is the result of a generous $3 million gift from the Grand Bahama Port Authority and is named in recognition of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, which established a free trade zone as an economic stimulus for Grand Bahama. The new student residential facility accommodates approximately 80 students in comfortable accommodations. Amenities at the facility include a cafeteria, laundry facilities, student lounge, Wi-Fi access, gym, computer laboratory and 24-hour security.