College Is On “Life Support”: Premier Says

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The H Lavity Stoutt Community College which is scheduled for re-accreditation in 2020 is in jeopardy of losing its accreditation status because of financial problems. Premier Fahie said that the House of Assembly was informed that the College is on “life support.”

The announcement was made during the budget debate by Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie on 25 April. In making the disclosure the Premier said: “The College told us because of the number of years that they have not received the correct subvention, they are now in jeopardy of losing their accreditation that we work so hard to get.”

This troublesome detail never transpired from the NDP administration.The Premier explained that during the Standing Finance Committee sittings it was disclosed that the college ‘kept the lights on’ by cutting programmes and cutting staff. “Cutting nearly everything there, except the grass,” the Premier disclosed.

In further explaining the cuts made the BVI Leader said: “Out of the monies that were cut down, the free tuition of the people attending HLSCC which were supposed to be paid separately – which is more than $2 million – they were told to take it out of the $8 million. Which brings them down to $5 million and change.”

The Minister for Finance explained the situation was never revealed before because the staff were not reluctant to ame any disclosure: “As a matter of fact, most of those who testified these things to the Standing Finance Committee when I asked them why didn’t you speak before, they said they weren’t given a chance to but now they are free to speak.”

Hon. Fahie stated that the situation ought to be rectified and he noted that if the College loses its accreditation his administration would be blamed. “You know what they are going to say? It happened under the VIP watch,” he added.

As he emphasized the dire situation Hon. Fahie challenged any member of the House of Assembly to dispute that the College stands to lose its hard earned accreditation: “I dare any member in this House to get up and say that what I say about the College is not factual … I dare anyone.” Members of the community have expressed great concern about the silence of the previous administration about the financial problems affecting the College for many years.

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