“The president of the university college refused to have the ceremony there, the president being one of those who had afforded themselves an unwarranted level of superiority no one should have in another man's country – a supercilious attitude permeates every level. Now you answer this question and you will see the difficulty of a public intellectual in a society like the Cayman Islands.”
(CMR) The University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) has denied that there was any nefarious reason why the J.A. Roy Bodden Symposium was not held at the university campus instead of the Harquail Theatre last week. The response comes days after Bodden explained on Friday why the event was not held at this former workplace.
The two-day event saw numerous guests speakers from all over the world, as well as local academics, contribute their interpretation of Bodden's work. However, the most controversial part came on Friday afternoon when the former UCCI president took the podium lambasting his replacement, Dr. Stacey McAfee. He claimed that people were asking him why the event was not held at the university college where students could have access to the presentations. He went on to explain that:
The question he then posed was how he could be given the title of President Emeritus and still be denied the ability to host his function at the university. He went on to remind the public of his nine-year tenure as UCCI president after the tumultuous presidency of a convicted thief and fraudster Hassan Syed. He received several applauds during the 2 1/2 minute comment.
This video clip quickly circulated around the community and by Friday evening people were contacting CMR demanding an acknowledgment of Bodden's remarks and some discussion. The video was accepted at face value and shared with our viewers who wondered how this could be permitted.
However, through their public relations department, the university has now shared that the entire episode appears to be a misunderstanding. They noted that when they were initially contacted about the symposium about a year ago there were unable to accommodate the request due to “public health and social distancing requirements inclusive of limits on public gatherings.”
They also confirmed that other events were also impacted by the restrictions including their annual STEM Carib conference. Concluding that this has obviously lead Bodden to make “an unfortunate misinterpretation of the reason for the denial” they confirm that no additional request was made.
They concluded that:
UCCI is proud to be at the heart of the community and hosts external events on a regular basis. With the reduction in COVID-19 restrictions, UCCI looks forward to hosting this and other like symposia in the future.
CMR had understood that some persons were of the opinion that ongoing facility upgrades may have been the reasons for the event being held elsewhere, but those renovations appear to now be significantly delayed.