Director of Admissions of the American Univeristy of Barbados, Dr. Gary Brar, makes a point to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart during a tour of the facility. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has welcomed the establishment of the American University of Barbados (AUB), an offshore medical school that is expected to benefit the island.

At a ceremony, last Friday, where he officially cut the ribbon to declare open the facility at Wildey, St. Michael, Mr. Stuart thanked the directors of AUB for choosing Barbados as a domicile for students to be trained in medicine.

Noting that it exemplified Barbados’ ability to attract international business in any area, the Prime Minister said, "As you are aware, Barbados is an offshore jurisdiction. Our economy pivots around not only tourism but also international business of whatever kind.?? We try, therefore, to attract to this country institutions, businesses, facilities from any part of the world so that they can use Barbados as the domicile from which to conduct their affairs.

"And, we feel confident doing that because we boast here a very stable environment; very reliable and impressive infrastructure, a people with a hospitality whose wont is not matched anywhere else in the world and a Government willing always to facilitate those persons who have the best interest of this country at heart and who are committed to the development of human beings and the making of meaningful contributions to the Treasury of human civilisation."

Offering his blessings to the university, Mr. Stuart stated: "I am very confident that the American University of Barbados will live up to the promise… and that the students who graduate from this university will go back to their respective jurisdictions with a message that is so positive that it will have the effect of encouraging others to want to come here and to get their medical education here."

AUB, a subsidiary of Era’s Lucknow Medical College and Hospital in India, is expected to bring with it significant gains.

The first of its kind to be recognised here, it has been described by its Director of Admissions, Gary Brar as likely "to generate job opportunities for many from different walks of life."

Dr. Brar, in addressing the opening ceremony, said: "It will provide a platform for social and cultural exchange to people of various countries and, hence, spread a message of universal brotherhood." Describing the benefits to the island’s economy, he added: "The Medical University will develop with it a township of its own, having Faculty and ancillary staff like security staff, maintenance staff, drivers, cleaners, washing, food supply, cooks, helpers and janitors.

"A population of about 350 students can build a township of its own and all the local vendors and residents will feel an economic growth in their neighbourhood."

He also disclosed that during the reconstruction process at # 18 Wildey Estate in Wildey, St. Michael, where the campus is housed, the university had employed dozens of full time and part time workers such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, masons and cleaners, thus creating job opportunities.

The Director further pointed out that AUB would, in the next four to five years, seek to build its own campus here with an estimated investment of approximately US $20 to $30 million. He said: "American University of Barbados, School of Medicine, will become one of the premier medical school institutions in the world for medical education and research. Our goal will be to have 350 students actively enrolled in the programme…We envisage a world where good health is not just the privilege of the rich but the basic right of all."

Dr. Brar, agreeing with the sentiments of Prime Minister Stuart, explained that the Directors of AUB had selected Barbados for its stable Government and safe environment for the students.?? "Barbados has all the shopping and social conveniences of the U.S. cities, making students very comfortable with the island. The local language is English. Every major U.S. airline flies to Barbados, making access to the island very easy from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia," he stressed.


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