November 27, 2021

University Transition Still Underway Despite Cancellation of Caribbean Development Bank Loan

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COBFRONTENTRANCEAuthored by: College of The Bahamas
Source: College of The Bahamas
Date: June 24, 2016

NASSAU, Bahamas – The College of The Bahamas continues to fulfill operational milestones in its ten-year Master Plan with the near completion of the new university entrance and recent ground breaking for the G.T.R. Campbell Small Island Sustainability Research Complex. As a part of the move to university status, in December 2014 a loan agreement for $16.18 million was signed between the Government of The Bahamas and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) with The College of The Bahamas (COB) as the Executing Agency to fund specific capacity-building and capital development initiatives.

The institution, however, has made significant strides in the absence of the loan. For instance, part of the CDB loan was earmarked for the hiring of a consultant to draft the University of The Bahamas Bill. In the absence of the CDB funds, the Bill was drafted by a team from The College of The Bahamas, the Ministry of Education, the Attorney General’s Office and the assistance of external consultants. Following a year-long internal consulting process, on 25th May, 2016, The University of The Bahamas Bill was tabled in the House of Assembly. The tabling of the Bill demonstrates that one of the key deliverables of the CDB loan agreement was met independent of the loan.

One of the preconditions of the loan was the submission of outstanding audited financial statements. The reality is, while The College worked diligently on the completion of the audits, CDB fees and interest were accumulating for the undispersed loan funds.

In March 2016, College President Dr. Rodney D. Smith met with the President of CDB, Dr. William Warren Smith, to discuss the terms and conditions of the sovereign loan; which allowed for waiver of preconditions. As a result of the meeting, the Bank indicated their intent to maintain the preconditions of the loan and offered further assistance. The financially prudent response to this situation was for The College to recommend to the Ministry of Finance to cancel the loan and thereby arrest the accumulation of fees and interest. Both Presidents agreed that the cancellation of this loan would not prohibit future engagement of CDB to assist in building the university.

The College remains steadfast with its transition to university status through the anticipated implementation of the Elucian Banner Data Management System this year. This system will assist The College to better manage its financial administration structures and facilitate the completion of its audits. The campus-wide implementation will take approximately 18 months at a projected cost of $3 million.

The advancement of The University of The Bahamas Bill moves the institution closer to accessing more diverse streams of funding to build the University through public and private partnerships, bonds, grants and other funding instruments.

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