Leon Higgs Pulls Out Of Race For COB Presidency
The Council of the College of the Bahamas announced yesterday that COB President Dr. Leon Higgs has given up his bid to renew his contract with the institution.
This follows many months of speculation that there was a move afoot to remove Dr. Higgs from the top post. Prime Minister Perry Christie also indicated in May that the COB President might be invited to take up another post.
Several months ago, Dr. Higgs told the Bahama Journal, “I believe that there is much work to be done in this institution. I think this is an important institution in the life of this country and I would like to continue to be a part of its development.”
But the Council’s statement yesterday indicated an apparent change of heart.
The statement, which was signed by Council Chairman Franklyn Wilson and Secretary Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, said Dr. Higgs has informed them that he has been offered, and has now under active consideration, other opportunities for national service elsewhere in the public domain.
Dr. Higgs’ contract expires at the end of August.
Since his appointment in November 1998, Dr. Higgs has faced opposition from some members of his executive team, who had applied for the top post after the resignation of former President Dr. Keva Bethel.
Dr. Higgs told the Journal in an earlier interview that the college has been able to achieve a number of successes over the last five years under his leadership.
He said they include: a five-year strategic plan; an agreement with Microsoft Corporation to provide cheap software to students; a new automated system; improvements in the registration process; and plans to break ground for a Northern Bahamas campus in Grand Bahama.
The college also planned to open a poultry research unit on Gladstone Road and expected to be producing around 24,000 birds every seven weeks.
“I also believe that the improved image within the community is also a success, although some people would disagree with that,” he said. “I believe the College of The Bahamas is here to serve our people and our community.”
The Council statement yesterday said, “At this time, the Council records its deep appreciation for Dr. Higgs’ tenure and contributions at the college and has decided to manifest its gratitude in the celebration of the institution’s second President’s Day on July 8, 2004, the first having been held at the retirement of the first President, Dr. Keva Bethel.”
“As is worthy of the stature of the president, in terms of the nature of his responsibilities at the institution and his extensive involvement in the life of the community in that capacity, President’s Day will consist of a full day of events, which will give the College family and the wider community of alumni, former College and Council members, patrons, government officials and community leaders an opportunity to interact with and express their gratitude and best wishes to Dr. Higgs,” it continued.
The day will begin with a service of thanksgiving at Hillview Seventh Day Adventist Church. The church service will be followed by a luncheon and presentations at the Radisson Cable Beach Resort and the official celebrations will conclude with a reception for the college community and closely connected persons at the college.
“Dr. Higgs takes with him the best wishes of the Council for his continued success,” the statement said, “and the Council is satisfied that, given the character of Dr. Higgs’ professional formation, the next stage of his career will provide him with continued opportunities to influence and contribute to the quality growth of the College of the Bahamas.”