From 1969, it was always the dream that the new College of the Bahamas, would eventually become a University of Bahamas. It actually stated as much in an advertisement, in the London newspapers, for the very first college Principal.
This new Principal would be tasked with amalgamating several, already existing institutions of learning, including and evening school, into a new prestigious, tertiary level institute of the highest education.
“It is proposed that the college should be a multi functional institution developing in due course into a university and will at the outset include the functions of the Bahamas Teacher’s College, the Nassau Technical College, and the activities at present carried out by the Extra Mural Department of the University of the West Indies, and possibly the activities of the Evening Institute giving instruction in GCE, A-level courses.”
June 1969 – Prime Minister Lynden Pindling says Bahamas needs its own College and reveals the country contributes $200,000 per year to University of West Indies.
In 1969, Cecil Wallace-Whitfield was the PLP Minister of Education and Culture. Whitfield, travelled with Prime Minister Lynden Pindling to the Caribbean Heads of State conference in Barbados. One important item on the agenda, was addressing the vast sums contributed annually to University of the West Indies (UWI). Pindling announced that The Bahamas, for years, had been contributing $200,000 as part of a Caribbean regional agreement to UWI.
Consider that in 1969, $200,000 was a tremendous sum, considering The Bahamas, did not have its own formally recognised tertiary institution of education. Prime Minister Pindling said the time has come for a College of The Bahamas.
To put it in current terms, $200,000 in 1969 would be about $1.5 million in today’s money. Prime Minister Pindling felt that this money could be better spent on education at home.
Pindling tasked, Minister of Education and Culture, Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, to make the dream a reality.
Pindling promises continued fight against income taxes and the Establishment of a College of the Bahamas in the current session of the House of Assembly.
Among several political promises made in 1969, such as, a maritime police equipped with patrol boats, establishment of a diplomatic corp to represent the country abroad, a new coat of arms, a new flag and national anthem, the promise of a College of Bahamas was a top priority.
Thousands of Bahamians needed to be educated, in order to fill expanding roles, now available in the country. For this to happen, tertiary education needed to be made available at home. Education had become part of Bahamian culture.
Advertisement for first Principal of new College of the Bahamas in London newspaper.
The first Principal of College of the Bahamas was paid B$14,000 per year, along with a rental accommodation between B$250 to $350 per month.