Addressing an IDB forum on entrepreneurship and economic transformation on Wednesday, June 12 , 2019 in Kingston, Jamaica, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles informed regional participants that, “The UWI has its sleeves rolled up and was in the trenches with the entrepreneurial community in the effort to push our economies onto the highway of sustainable economic growth.”
Noting that “being at the centre of the economic growth agenda was the top priority for The UWI,” he commended the Government of Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and Michael Chin of the Economic Growth Council, for pushing and promoting the matter of economic growth to a “feverish pitch” in an effort to ensure that “every citizen and all institutions come on board with an understanding that economic growth and development with social justice is a collective public movement.”
Sir Hilary placed the conversation in historical context, stating that this moment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is “our time to be leaders and beneficiaries.” He pointed out that the people of the Caribbean were the primary victims of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions. “Our people,” he said, “over 15 million of them, were placed in chains and driven to power these global industrial movements that saw the attainment of sustainable development in the Western World.” He continued, “We have survived, and now it is our time to run like a burst pipe through the more level playing field of the digital age. We have more experience with globalisation and openness than any other region, and this cultural exposure will see us through this time as pioneers and discoverers.”
The UWI with its enormous reputation as a first class global institution has developed and is implementing a Strategic Plan (Triple A Strategy) that addresses frontally our role at this time, he concluded.