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October 3, 2014
Did Ferdinand advise Eustace on SVGCC Associate Degree statement?

Did New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for West St George, Dr Jules Ferdinand, advise party president Arnhim Eustace on the party’s position in relation to the Associate Degrees offered by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC)?

SEARCHLIGHT sought, this week, to find this out{{more}} from Ferdinand, who, according to the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) website (, is the Chancellor’s Nominee of the UWI Campus Council (Cave Hill Campus), and a member of that Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC).

We reached out to Ferdinand, numerous times this week – both via phone and Facebook. On one of the two occasions we managed to reach him by phone, he promised to return our call the next day, but he never did; neither did he answer our subequent calls.

Our curiosity about what Ferdinand knows, and what he did with that knowledge was sparked last week, after Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker told SEARCHLIGHT that she is quite familiar with the policy of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in relation to matriculation, as she represents this country on the Council of the UWI – the supreme governing body of the regional institution. The permanent secretary is also a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC) — the same committees that Ferdinand is a member of.

At a recent press conference, Eustace said that the Associate Degrees offered by the SVGCC are not worth the paper they are written on. He said if a person wishes to go to the UWI, that person will not get into the school on the basis of an Associate Degree from the SVGCC and will not be given any time off as a result of holding that qualification.

After Eustace made his statement, Professor Alan Cobley, Pro Vice Chancellor and Chair of the Board for Undergraduate Studies, Mona campus of the UWI, stated that since 2006, the UWI formally approved the use of Associate Degrees from tertiary level institutions for normal matriculation. Cobley also said in addition to this general policy for the region, the UWI had several agreements with the SVGCC for specific Associate Degree programmes, including advanced standing in these programmes.

Did Ferdinand know this, and if so, did he advise the Leader of the Opposition about the policy of the UWI in relation to the SVGCC before Eustace made his statements, or at any point subsequently?