Bourne and Cox were poor performers at UG
I write in relation to the farce at UG in which it has been reported by the Acting Vice Chancellor, Marlene Cox that the Academic Board rejected the resignation of former Chancellor, Compton Bourne. This is not true. No such thing happened. And once more UG is made to look foolish in the eyes of all Guyanese. Before I proceed to describe the fiction in that statement of Cox, a note about the competence of Cox and Bourne.
Marlene Cox was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) under Dr. James Rose. It was the worst performance of any DVC in the history of the University. In the chemistry department her research profile was nil so Cox jumped at the opportunity the benefactor, Rose offered. After her three year stint was over, she was put in charge of the Office of Resource Mobilization (ORM). It was a repeat of her non-achievement. So bad was her tenure that Council, in order to remove her, initiated moves to scrap ORM. I sat through all those meetings. And yes I did vote for the abolition of ORM because to date, it has been a huge white elephant. It is no exaggeration to say that politics and not academic performance has kept Marlene Cox at UG
When Vice Chancellor Carrington broke with tradition and appointed Cox DVC again, it was perhaps improper. There is no law that states after a long break you cannot serve as DVC but the convention is one stint only. The union in the Council disagreed with Cox’s appointment. I argued that we need to share the exposure. Our nomination was Philip Da Silva of the Berbice campus. In a one to one conversation with Carrington, he told me he looked hard to find another choice but the field was extremely limited. He said he chose Cox because with the scarcity of qualified people, he needed someone with experience. It was a terrible mistake by Carrington
As for Bourne. It must be noted that Bourne’s application for contract renewal as Head of the Caribbean Development Bank was rejected by its Board. During the industrial dispute at UG in February, a confidential report on Bourne’s tenure was leaked to me with the specific request that I not quote from it. But the sender warned me to look out for the fall out in months’ time from Bourne’s poor results at the Bank.
As it turned out he was right. The CDB accreditation lending rating has been downgraded by its international assessor, Standard and Moody (see Caribbean Business News, June 12, 2012. It was clear from Standard and Moody that the problem began under Bourne’s watch. In an angry reaction to Bourne’s failure, the current Head, Dr. Warren Smith told the media that the CDB is too important to the region and the bank with word hard to undo what Bourne did. For the three years, he spent at UG, Bourne’s profile was low, his achievements were non existent. The only profile he achieved was his plot in Pradoville 2 in which he is about to start construction
Now for the Academic Board’s so-called rejection of Bourne’s resignation. Under James Rose, the Academic Board became a farce. I refused to attend session under his chairmanship because he was contemptuous of the union’s inputs. One member would get up and say a road wasn’t properly fixed. No one would bother to voice an opinion. Then the press would be sent a statement the next day saying that the Academic Board is concerned that the road wasn’t fixed
Endless statements would be made on behalf of the Academic Board and on the issues involved there was no voting. It was a sickening masquerade to see how this process operated. A member would mutter a word or two about something. The Vice Chancellor would agree and bingo, it becomes an Academic Board’s decision. This is what happened with the Bourne resignation. Cox learnt her methods when she served under Rose.
In the case of Bourne’s resignation, it was raised by one member. Dr. Patsy Francis replied and offered the reason why Operation Rescue UG could no longer show confidence in Bourne. That was the end of the matter. There was no prolonged discussion.
There was no motion put to the floor. There was no voting. When it came to “Any Other Business” on the agenda, a majority of members had left. One lecturer raised the Bourne resignation again. And again there was no vote.
Cox issued a statement on behalf of the University saying that Deans and Heads rejected Bourne’s resignation. That is not true. But given the poorly qualified lecturers serving at UG, these people will be too scared to denounce what Cox did. All of this means of course that people are going to continue to laugh and scorn UG. The ball is now in the court of the joint opposition.
They have to amend the University of Guyana Act to do away with politicians on the Council, democratize the Council and empower the academics. Once this is done, even with a meager pay, qualified staff will stay