SANKAT FELL FOR UDP OKEY-DOKE
by Hilly Bennett
On Friday May 31, 2019, Hunting Caye was leased out to a private company Save Mar. In a ceremony in Punta Gorda, the President of the University of Belize, Professor Clement Sankat signed on behalf of the institution in the presence of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Harrison Pilgrim. The individuals for the Save Mar company are Dennis Garbutt, Lindsay Garbutt and Dr. Wil Hayman.
Professor Sankat heralded the agreement as a “very special day in UB’s history.” The President of UB considered the signing as a first big agreement with the private sector. However, this endeavour is rank with a stench of UDP hustle. Both Lindsay Garbutt and Dennis Garbutt are staunch UDP operatives. Interestingly, Dennis Garbutt is the UDP’s choice to challenge the Honourable Mike Espat in Toledo East in the upcoming 20/20 general election. Lindsay Garbutt sits on the Airport Authority Board.
Save Mar has been given the green light to run and manage the Hunting Caye facility that has been in existence over 10 years. Professor Sankat stated categorically that “…….the asset is still that of the University. It is an agreement for operation and lease.” Although, the facility remains the asset of the University of Belize, this is clearly a privatization scheme for profits. Garbutt’s statement that Hunting Caye has always been a favourite location for the well-to-do from the Republic of Guatemala, including presidents who often visit in their expensive yachts is indicative that the move to privatize Hunting Caye is more than managing the facility. Save Mar intends to build a first class hotel on Hunting Caye.
Contrary to the characterization of the signing ceremony as a very, very special day in UB’s history, it is not. This is an indictment on the institution’s lack of capacity and managerial ability to run the program.
Belize has significant potential in tertiary education to develop a new venue for strategic development and growth. Dr. Nancy Adamson, Vice President of Galen University and Dr. Geraldo flower, Director of Development at University of Belize, in the University of Belize publication March 22-26 2004, A New Venue For Strategic Development and Growth: Development of Tertiary Education as a sector of the economy of Belize, highlights the strategy for tertiary education to become a part of the globalization of goods and services. The paper establishes the yearly market estimates for both the UK and the US. “The British Council in 2002/2003 estimated that the overseas recruitment market is worth about 2.5 billion pounds a year to UK institutions.
Whilst the Institute of International Education (US), international students contributes 12 billion a year to the US economy. This has grown immeasurably. It is the Governments in these two countries that are responsible for marketing and promoting their tertiary education industries not private investors.
Curiously, Lindsay Garbutt et al will be responsible for bringing students, which includes Belize, neighbouring countries and across the globe to do marine research. The tail now wags the dog.
As the paper posits, the University should work with Government to set mutually acceptable targets for foreign student recruitment. This will allow tertiary education to contribute significantly to the economy of Belize. In addition to the economic benefits, tertiary education will reverse the brain-drain affecting the country, will stimulate entrepreneurship, the development of other industries and will bring positive effects at all levels, health and society at large.
Presently there are several medical schools in Belize that are being operated as private entities. Unfortunately, this represents a loss of needed revenue to the struggling economy of Belize. The loss is compounded by the prostitution of Hunting Caye research facility to UDP cronies and political aspirant
“You give your more to receive your less”, Bob Marley saying is relevant to the leasing of Hunting Caye Marine Research Facility. Government will collect the minimal taxes, the lease sum and other fees. Save Mar will collect the mother lode of profits from this venture. Instead of University of Belize becoming the new venue for strategic development and growth in the country’s economy, Sankat has fallen for UDP Okey-Dokey. Lindsay Garbutt and the unscrupulous lot is chanting “all is mine.”
Belizeans need to wake up and say to this barbaric, heartless and corrupt UDP-NOT THIS TIME!!!! Our student want those millions for themselves to develop Belize.