Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis announced the establishment of a National Endowment Fund to help preserve the heritage and culture of The Bahamas, among other things. He made the statement as he delivered the Keynote Address at the Official Opening of the $3 million Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Centre at the University of The Bahamas on Thursday, May 17, 2018. Contributors to the Graduate Centre were Sir Franklyn Wilson and Sharon Lady Wilson, the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the Royal Bank of Canada, who donated $1 million apiece. The auditorium at the center is named the RBC Royal Bank Auditorium. Also donating to the center were the Canadian Friends of the University of The Bahamas, and Sunshine Holdings Ltd., which facilitated the center’s construction and equipment. Sir Franklyn Wilson is a major contributor to the development of the University of The Bahamas.
In this vein, the Prime Minister announced that over the next five years, his administration will give consideration to an education, heritage and cultural endowment, funded mostly by private donors, both Bahamian and international. “This national endowment will aid in the preservation of our heritage and the promotion of Bahamian culture,” he said. He also envisioned that such a national endowment fund would help in providing scholarships for Bahamians in a number of disciplines. And, it will further development of sports and athletics. “Research is at the heart of a university,” the Prime Minister noted. “Research is also essential for public policy and planning.” He then noted UB’s commitment to research which states: “Our new master’s and research-oriented doctoral programs will afford students substantial mastery of the subject matter, theory, literature, and methodology of a significant field of study and will include the sequential development of research skills leading to the attainment of an independent research capacity.” The university has also committed to continuing to build its research capacity and adding to the body of knowledge. “The country and the Government look forward to utilizing research from the University of The Bahamas for national development and policy decisions,” the Prime Minister said.
He regarded the University of The Bahamas as the focus of a number of programmes, which will help bolster the social and economic development of The Bahamas. To help stimulate business ownership and Bahamian enterprise, the Cabinet approved the launch of the Small Business Development Center at UB. It is an initiative spearheaded by the government, along with UB and The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, with support from the Organization of American States. This center will provide a resource for all Bahamians to receive advisory and technical support when seeking to open a business or to expand their operations. The Small Business Development Center will steer entrepreneurs to available funding opportunities through government or private means. It will also assist business owners in navigating through the regulatory and tax registration requirements for a new business. “I am excited about the variety of graduate programs the University of The Bahamas is considering, including, education, business, psychology, accounting, social work and other studies,” the Prime Minister said. Some of those possible research and study programs in a number of disciplines include: climate change, small island sustainability, renewable/alternative energy, green technology, responsible tourism, sustainable tourism, financial services, migration/diaspora studies, waste management, poverty alleviation, food security, criminology, crime, and gender inequality. “The University of the Bahamas holds tremendous promise for our national development,” the Prime Minister said, as he thanked all those who were involved in the opening of the Franklyn R. Wilson Graduate Centre.