Chairman of the H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) John Samuel said the educational facility has not suffered any financial constraints, despite the near stand-still of the global economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The businessman and former election candidate for the governing Virgin Islands Party told members of the media last Thursday that, since the new government came in, they have been very supportive in the subvention”.
“Even through COVID-19 we have not had any budget cuts. That’s a thing of the past. This hasn’t been since I have been here. We have not had any financial issues whatsoever since the new board came in and I can speak to that factually, prior I can’t speak to what the issues were. So we have been able to continue to keep the staff and keep the programmes running,” he stated.
History of money woes
Premier and Minister for Finance, Andrew Fahie said in the House of Assembly during the 2019 budget debate in April that the college has been experiencing money troubles since 2013 when their subvention from the government was cut from $11 million to $8 million.
He said: “Out of the monies that were cut down, the free tuition of the people attending HLSCC which were supposed to be paid separately – which is more than $2 million – they were told to take it out of the $8 million. Which brings them down to $5 million and change.”
The Premier said at the time that the college was ‘on life support’.
He even mentioned that the HLSCC’s financial woes were placing the institution’s accreditation at risk.
He further said for the college to have ‘kept the lights on’, “they had to cut programmes, cut staff, cut nearly everything there, except the grass”.
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