Sun | Jul 5, 2020

NCU deserves to be supported by the Government

Published:Thursday | May 28, 2020 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

SOME ONLINE readers have accused Prime Minister Andrew Holness of being selective in his recent contribution from his private foundation to a fundraising mediathon hosted by the alumni of Northern Caribbean University (NCU). Antagonists argue that as a Seventh-day Adventist adherent, the PM was supporting an institution owned by that denomination to the detriment of other privately owned educational institutions.

As a practising Adventist, I believe that the Government should be helping all private schools that are making a significant contribution to national development. I believe that there should be a line item in the national Budget to accomplish such a feat. It is the sole responsibility of the Government to educate its people, especially at the elementary and secondary levels. The churches, non-governmental organisations and other charitable organisations are there to support the Government and not to carry the burden of the State. Any support the Government gives to these organisations is in its own interest.

Concerning the charge that the prime minister?s contribution to NCU was on the basis that he is a Seventh-day Adventist, I believe that is an excellent reason to give. Let me use this medium to present some facts about the Seventh-day Adventist organisation in Jamaica:

- Membership is more than 300,000 people.

- More than 700 churches.

- 28 educational institutions, including nine secondary schools and one university.

- Almost 10,000 students.

- One hospital: Andrews Memorial Hospital.

- NCU is located in Mandeville, where it generates economic activities to the tune of several billion dollars. Just stop and imagine what Mandeville would be like without NCU for the past 100 years.

- What about NCU?s contribution to the development of Jamaica at the national level? As a university, we have graduated thousands of students who have gone on to serve Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the rest of the world.

I will mention two areas that are critical in the fight of COVID-19: nursing and medical technology. NCU graduates in these occupations are enlisted in the fight to protect the Jamaican population.

Now that your readers are more informed of the facts about Seventh-day Adventists, the question on the table is: Should an institution like NCU not be supported by Government?

DR WITFORD REID

Member of Board

Northern Caribbean University