Press Release – August 17, 2014
RE: The College of The Bahamas Employees and Students in Limbo
More than a year ago, the Council of The College of The Bahamas, empowered by The College of The Bahamas Act of 1995, started a democratic and transparent process to find the institution’s next president. More than two months ago, on June 12th, the Chairman of the College Council, in accordance with the COB Act, informed the Minister of Education of the Council’s decision. Tomorrow, August 18th, will make it 67 days since the Minister received the governing body’s recommendation and yet the employees and students of the institution have not heard from the Minister as to his decision.
After having what appeared to be an open, honest, and productive discussion with the Minister of Education at the House of Assembly on August 6th as to his decision on the presidency of the College of The Bahamas, employee and student representatives are very disappointed that they continue to remain in limbo at the start of the 2014 academic school year.
Monday, August 18th, will not only mark the start of the academic year at the College, it will also mark the 40th year of existence for the institution. And, yet, at the start of what should be an exciting and historic chapter in the institution’s development, employees and students are still at a loss about the direction that their institution is headed under the present leadership. Unsure as to why the new president has not yet been approved and appointed, faculty, staff, and students are all gravely concerned by this sad state of affairs!
The representatives of the Union of Tertiary Educators of the Bahamas (UTEB), Public Managers Union (PMU), Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU), and The College of The Bahamas Union of Students (COBUS) – serving the interests of faculty, staff, and students of The College of The Bahamas – want to know what plans the Minister of Education has for the institution when the doors open on August 18th.
On August 18th, morale among faculty, staff, and students – all who are closely watching this debacle play out – will most certainly be at an all-time low. Signs of unease and tension are already surfacing within the institution. The employees and students of COB all want to know who will be leading the College to its goal of university status!
Can COB’s faculty, staff, and students still expect to be stagnating, barely making it, for the next academic year because they will still not have the competent, visionary, sufficiently experienced, systematic leader that was promised at the start of the presidential search process?
How much longer can faculty, staff, and students expect to be led by an administrative team whose modus operandi is outdated and has actually led the institution to the turmoil and chaos it finds itself in now? How much longer should they be expected to be led by a leadership team that has demonstrated it is unable to sufficiently manage resources, motivate, mobilize, and engender confidence in the internal or external college community and in whom they have lost all confidence?
More than two weeks ago, the Minister suggested that he had sufficiently satisfied his concerns and was prepared to present his recommendations. Now weeks later, faculty, staff, and students who trusted the Minister and took his promise as genuine, still await answers.
In the coming days, we are looking for the Minister to show some courtesy and respect to the institution’s majority stakeholders by informing us of his answer by way of a decision – whatever that decision is.
Show us, the faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents of COB students, the wider Bahamian community – and the College Council itself – that the democratic search process undertaken by the government-appointed College Council has some integrity and means something to this government.