thebahamasweekly.com – COBUS: “Let’s Build a University Where Students are Afforded Quality Education at Low Cost”

This is worth reading from beginning to end: thebahamasweekly.com – COBUS Press Statement.

The press in general has focussed on one small part of the document, that relating to the House of Assembly; the original title of this document online is “COBUS: ‘Would like an apology from the Speaker of the House and Royal Bahamas Police Force’”, but that is only part of the concerns of this press release. The refusal by the RBPF to admit members of the College of The Bahamas Union of Students to enter the House of Assembly (doubly ironic, given the fact that that day’s proceedings were dedicated to Sir Randol Fawkes, the father of the labour movement in The Bahamas and a supporter of all unions) puts broader issues of democracy into question, and it is those issues that are at stake here, not the relatively trivial call for an apology. The apology is incidental. The question is the value we place on the young adults in our society who have chosen to educate themselves at home,, and the value we place on their place in our so-called democracy.

In regard to that issue, here is what the President-Elect, Alphonso Major, had to say:

We have many questions about what that transpired that day: what laws gives them police such authority to pick and choose who enters into the House of Assembly? How exactly were we a threat? Who exactly was in danger? Or is the crux of the matter simply that any time a group of educated College students assembles to stand up for something within this country, they are immediately perceived as a threat that must be contained. Even if there was intent to disrupt the proceedings which we maintain we did not have, Members of Parliament disrupt each other all the time within the House of Assembly – why aren’t they being denied access to the proceedings?

Is this still a democratic nation that we live in where fundamental rights apply? – Alphonso Major, President-Elect

But that was not all that transpired at the press conference. Indeed, the meat of this release treats the proposed cuts in subvention to the College and the resultant raising of fees. If you are not a student at the College of The Bahamas, I challenge you to read the whole thing before you come to any conclusion.

Some of the highlights, for me:

In the absence of substantiated data, it is our goal to bring these inefficiencies to your attention, and to show all that a solution can be found through our critical assessment and assistance by providing practical, logical solutions, not as idealists: rather as students who recognizes the direction where we as a College should beheading and who wish to insure our futures within the nation as a whole, even before we consider transitioning to University. — Donovan Harding, PR Director-Elect

Let us build a University together one where students are afforded a quality education at low to no cost! We must build on the 21st Century learning skills with the technology and resources that are needed to move the country’s level of education from the bottom of the list to the top with Barbados, Singapore and Finland. — Ernesto Williams, outgoing COBUS President

Once again, go read it. The whole thing. I challenge you.