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PS feels ‘broken-hearted’ over Dr Ferdinand’s silence

PS feels ‘broken-hearted’  over Dr Ferdinand’s silence

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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker is nursing a broken heart because of the silence of a former role model.

As she spoke on the Unrendered television programme on IKTV last Sunday, Bonadie-Baker expressed her disappointment {{more}}in New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for West St George, Dr Jules Ferdinand.

Bonadie-Baker said her disappointment stems from Ferdinand’s silence in relation to comments made by Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace regarding the accreditation of the Associate Degrees offered by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) and whether students holding these degrees could matriculate into the University of the West Indies (UWI) and get advanced placement.

Eustace had declared at a press conference on September 17 that if someone has an Associate Degree from the SVGCC and wishes to attend the UWI, the university will not give them any credit for the degree.

“They have no value whatsoever. They are not worth the paper they are written on,” he said at the press conference.

The Leader of the Opposition had also criticised a letter Bonadie-Baker had written to Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Under­graduate Studies Professor Allan Cobley, asking him to clarify the UWI’s regulations in relation to matriculation by holders of Associate Degrees.

“… You see this letter going to the professor to ask them to clarify the policy. A policy in place since 2006 and the Ministry don’t know what the policy is? And the Community College board doesn’t know what the policy is? Don’t tell me no foolishness. Look after that matter so that the students can gain the benefits that they deserve from the college,” Eustace said, as he spoke on radio on September 29.

Bonadie-Baker said Ferdinand was a role model to her when she was a member of the Rotaract Club of Kingstown.

The Permanent Secretary, who attends UWI Council meetings as this Government’s designated representative, said Ferdinand sits next to her during meetings of the UWI Council and that Council’s Finance and General Purposes committee. Ferdinand is the Chancellor’s nominee on the Council.

Bonadie-Baker said as a result of her attendance at those meetings, she is well aware of the University’s policies in relation to Associate Degrees from regional state colleges.

“I am here; the esteemed gentleman, my former role model – and I stress former, because I have not heard him speak publicly or write about this issue and I told someone that my heart was a bit broken. A piece was chipped off, because as a young person, I looked up to that person and that person could have easily told the person making the pronouncements, ‘don’t go and make a spectacle of yourself in the public. You are going to be ridiculed, because what you are saying or about to say is wrong’,” she said.

“What I want to assume is the person who made the pronouncements, I have to assume did not ask the esteemed gentleman of whom I speak, ‘can you give me some clarification?’”

SEARCHLIGHT, on Monday, requested of Ferdinand a response to Bonadie-Baker’s comments; however, up to press time, none had been received.

However, in relation to whether he had advised Eustace on the position he had taken in relation to the SVGCC Associate Degrees, Ferdinand in a message sent to us via Facebook last Friday, October 3 said: “The issues that you wish to have me comment on are really better answered by Honourable Arnhim Eustace. I strongly suggest that you seek an audience with him in this regard.”(BK)