It is with deep sadness that the Barbados Community College (BCC) learned of the passing of former Principal, Dr. Gladstone Best, whose association with the College spans more than four decades.
Dr. Best holds the distinction of being a former student of the College (registered in 1972 to study A-Level Chemistry and Biology at the Harbour site), who rose to the highest levels of administration, serving as Principal from 2004-2015.
Dr. Best served in many different capacities during his 40-year association with the institution. He served in the Division of Science teaching Chemistry and Mathematics, first as a part-time tutor (1979) and then full-time as an Assistant Tutor in 1980. In 1986, Dr. Best spent a year at St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology in Canada where he majored in Computer Studies. He returned to Barbados the following year and took up the post of tutor in the department of Computer Studies. At the same time, Dr. Best was invited to act in the newly created post of Assistant Registrar where he focused on a project to computerize the BCC’s systems in collaboration with St. Clair College. He became Senior Tutor of Computer Studies when the department was upgraded to a full division in 1993 and then in 1998, he assumed the role of Deputy Principal.
From 2002-2004, Dr. Best took a two year break from the BCC. He joined the University of the West Indies as a programme officer in the Tertiary-Level Unit, but he returned after that stint to take up the post of Principal upon the retirement of Norma Holder. He held that post until his retirement in 2015.
Author, Professor Vivienne Roberts highlighted some of the achievements of Dr. Best’s ten (10) year tenure as Principal. She noted that he oversaw infrastructural, programme and staff professional development, as well as the signing of several articulation agreements and promoted ongoing student success during that time.
Dr. Best also made his mark in the international academic sphere as a former 1st Vice President of the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions (ACTI).
Current Principal, Annette Alleyne noted that Dr. Gladstone Best was a strategic leader with a quiet inner strength and immense humility. “His research prowess was evident in the many principles, policies and standard operating procedures he conceptualized and drafted for the College. His work provided the platform that continues to shape the identity of the BCC. I will forever be grateful for the support he provided to me and other staff members. A major part of his life was invested at the Barbados Community College and as a result, the people of Barbados and the region, have been made richer by his invaluable contribution”, she said.
Chairman of the BCC’s Board of management, Dr Allyson Leacock observed that pioneers and builders of the BCC were transformative in what they provided to our educational landscape in Barbados. “Dr. Gladstone Best, who dedicated 40 years of his life to the College, must be lauded in that cadre of Barbadian patriots. The College’s genesis was built on a desire for inclusion of all Barbadians in the journey of education. Dr. Best’s gentility and self-effacing style gave our students that comfort of inclusion for equality. The College’s plans to honour him this year now have renewed impetus. BCC will not forget him or his manifold gifts given during his decades of dedication. We thank his family for sharing him with us”, Dr. Leacock noted.
The Board of Management, Administration, staff and students of the BCC extend sincerest condolences to Dr. Best’s wife, Marslyn, children, Damian, Dionne and Daryl, grandchildren and the wider family.
May he rest in peace.