THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES o ST. AUGUSTINE CAMPUS
SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
Two business initiatives of The
University of the West Indies are
underway that may further
demonstrate its unique position in
terms of the international value of
its Cocoa Research Unit (CRU),
custodian of the International Cocoa
Genebank, Trinidad (ICG, T).
Earlier this year, following
initiatives led by Trinidad and Tobago's
Ambassador to Venezuela, RaziaAli, a
group of executives from the company,
Chocolates El Rey (CER), visited the
St Augustine Campus as part of a
mission to locate a new home for their
Ambassador Ali, a former director
of the International Trade and
Economic Relations Division of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, advised
the chocolate producers, who have
been in business since 1929, that
the political and economic climate
in T&T, coupled with outstanding
technological resources at the CRU,
could provide them with advantages to
be had nowhere else in the world.
So in January, a team, led by the
President and CEO of CER Jorge
Redmond, met with a UWI team led by
Campus Principal Professor Clement
Sankat to discuss the possibilities of a
joint venture. Although it has not yet
been finalised, the prospects look good
as the meeting provided only positive
reasons for a partnership.
For CER, relocating their
operations to a country with such close
geographical proximity (remember,
we are said to be a chunk of 'broken
away' Venezuela), ensures a transition
softened by climatic and cultural
Statements from the Second
Roundtable Meeting for a Sustainable
Cocoa Economy, held in T&T in
March, indicate that the Government
of Trinidad and Tobago is intent on
revitalising the local cocoa industry
and this augurs well for any company
entering this sector.
As a producer of fine chocolates
primarily for export, it will be able
to enter the largest market for high
quality chocolates, the European
Union, to which T&T has access.
It would also benefit from a supply
of cocoa from one of the eight countries
worldwide classified (according to the
International Cocoa Agreement of
1993) as an exclusive producer of fine
or flavour cocoa.
As a business service, The UWI
can provide technological support, the
Ou Fies Coo House
takes the prize
Cocoa for King
* Tilling the chocolate soil
* Is extra
facilities of its labs at the CRU and its
expertise. For The UWI, it will be an
opportunity to help provide funding
for the CRU, which has generally
come from international agencies
recognising the value of its work,
and of course the significance of its
prestigious ICG, T.
Hoping to encourage economic
diversification regionally, The UWI
has also offered similar services to
Grenada, another of the exclusive
eight countries, whose cocoa industry
collapsed after being ravaged by recent
Meeting with representatives
from the Ministry of Agriculture
and other relevant parties, Principal
Sankat and a team including Dr David
Director of Business Development,
discussed helping Grenada to rebuild
its economy with technical and other
assistance. Grenada's cocoa industry,
like T&T's primarily comprises
farmers with small holdings, but
unlike T&T, it suffers from inadequate
training in processing and marketing
The UWI will seek funding to
enable the transfer of knowledge and
to help rebuild the Grenadian economy,
which has suffered tremendously
in the past decade. It sees this as an
opportunity to offer these services to
other countries in the region, such as
others belonging to the exclusive eight
(Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia,
St Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa,
Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago).
SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009 UWI TODAY 3
It is legitimate to ask if Trinidad and Tobago is recognised
as one of the world's eight exclusive producers of fine
or flavour cocoa, why it has not been a producer of fine
chocolates. Two years ago, Prof John Spence, in a series of
newspaper columns on reviving the cocoa industry, said it
was high time for Trinidad and Tobago to seriously consider
manufacturing premium quality chocolates from locally
produced beans. Prof Spence had pointed to the increase in
world demand for fine or flavour cocoa, especially as dark
chocolates had been scientifically proven to be healthier
and loaded with anti-oxidants (but require more beans to
produce than milk chocolate).
According to Dr Darin Sukha, a Research Fellow at the
Cocoa Research Unit (CRU), the response to this view is
mixed, indicating the complexity of the issue.
"One school of thought states that producing countries
should only focus on producing high quality cocoa for
export in the most efficient manner possible and leave any
further processing to be done at the traditional countries
of export. Our current production volume is small and we
have had no problem getting it sold at premium prices. We
can double our present production levels without affecting
price, so the incentive to produce chocolates has not been
there," he said.
The main premise for this argument is that any local
value-added production will distract from the local cocoa
production task at hand and will potentially divert valuable
cocoa production to less lucrative local enterprises.
"The other school of thought states that there are
potentially lucrative local markets for a wide range of value-
added products made from otherwise discarded primary
cocoa processing by-products and lower grade fermented
and dried cocoa beans. This parallel processing can utilise
both lower grade beans and dedicated local first-grade cocoa
bean production to create a range of value-added products
for local and international consumption," he said.
As suggested by Prof Spence, these markets can be
explored and developed by cocoa farmers themselves at the
cottage industry level and there is long-term potential for an
established secondary cocoa processing industry.
The answer to whether it is feasible to take the plunge
and produce dark chocolate lies in another equally complex
question. Is there enough cocoa production locally to serve
both lucrative bean export and chocolate production?
Sukha feels that in the past five years there has been a
discernible change in the attitude toward rebuilding and
revitalising local cocoa production.
"I am seeing the Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board
(CCIB) and the Ministry of Agriculture of Agriculture,
Land and Marine Resources (MALMR) with the CRU and
other stake holders working together in a concerted effort to
promote cocoa, increase cocoa production and make cocoa
production more economically viable. What we need now is
cheaper labour and research into labour-saving devices to
make cocoa production less labour intensive," he said.
Cocoa production issues aside, on the international
market, there are fine examples of exquisite chocolates using
local Trinitario beans, branded especially to recognise their
origins. The San Juan Estate in Gran Couva supplies beans
for the European gourmet Valrhona chocolates, with one
of its brands being called Gran Couva.
In reality, according to Sukha, "chocolate production
has always been a very skilled task, requiring extensive
capital outlay for machinery that was not small scale...
Only recently has small scale machinery become available
so that the capital risk in entering into chocolate production
He has observed more people venturing into "chocolate
and cocoa value-added products locally'" but he cautions
that the quality of these products must be high to compete
with what is already out there. "I am only now seeing some
attention being paid to high quality and this is as a result of
increased consumer awareness about quality issues."
Another option for local chocolate production was
successfully explored at the recent Second Roundtable for
a Sustainable Cocoa Economy (RSCE2). For the RSCE2
meeting, the CCIB partnered with the Guittard Chocolate
Company of California, USA, to produce a premium
gourmet dark chocolate bar from 100 percent Trinitario
beans from two (La Louisa Estate in Tamana and La
Maraquita Estate in Gran Couva) of four cocoa estates (two
in Moruga) owned by Lawrence Duprey and managed by
Prism Agri Estates Co Ltd.
By entering into an exclusive contractual processing
arrangement with an established dark or gourmet chocolate
producer capable of handling small batches of beans, this
option overcomes the prohibitive start-up costs and stringent
quality criteria in setting up a chocolate manufacturing plant
locally. This also allows low-risk testing of the local and
export market for such a product until the critical mass and
demand for the product are established.
With the urgency to diversify the economy, and add
value to our primary production, and the evidence available
that cocoa and fine chocolates are still in demand, The UWI
has a crucial role to play. Sukha concluded that, "the CRU
and UWI can facilitate in this drive to add value to cocoa
production by partnering with entrepreneurs in research
applied to chocolate formulation, product development and
production, quality assessment as well as marketing."
Dr Jan Vingerhoets (Executive Director of the International Cocoa
Organisation), Senator the Honourable Arnold Piggot (Minister
of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources) and Mme Amouan
Acquah (President of the Second Round Table for a Sustainable Cocoa
Economy (RSCE2)) sampling the premium gourmet dark chocolate
produced for the Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board at the Opening
Ceremony of RSCE2 held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain.
AT OUR DOORS
Apart from being sites of research and teaching,
universities have traditionally functioned as centres
of discourse, places where ideas meet, collide and
reverberate off each other as they take practical
As you read this, the events surrounding the
various versions of the Summit of the Americas
would have ended. Hopefully, the ideas raised will
resonate more powerfully for having been bounced
around in such a refreshingly diverse series of
chambers, and will move past being conceptual
creatures and take the shape of real projects and
programmes that yield benefits to the general
At The University of the West Indies, we
understand the importance of providing that
interstice for differing views. The UWI hosted the
"Forum of the Workers of the Americas" which
was organised by the National Trade Union Centre
of Trinidad and Tobago (NATUC), headed by
Michael Annisette. The Coalition of Civil Society
organisations for the Summit of the Americas
planned its Civil Society Forum, at our Daaga Hall
And although The UWI did not organise or
structure the events, its St Augustine campus was
the location for what came to be known as The
IV People's Summit of the Americas, held by the
Federation of Independent Trade Unions and
Non Governmental Organisations (FITUN),
led by David Abdulah in partnership with the
Hemispheric Social Alliance and the Assembly of
Indeed, several members of the academic
staff and students were participants at the various
events: our Students Guild Council President Hillan
Morean and others attended the Youth Forum.
As a citizen actively committed to serving our
stakeholders, The UWI was happy to accommodate
these discussions and will work towards seeing those
ideas recorded, considered, and where appropriate,
put into action. As participants and observers of the
process, we remain vigilant to ensure that even in a
society whose equilibrium has been shaken, ideas
and discourse continue to be treated as valuable
foundations and must always be nurtured.
CLEMENT K. SANKAT
Pro Vice Chancellor & Principal
Professor Clement Sankat
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Mrs. Dawn Marie De Four-Gill
Ms. Vaneisa Baksh
The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002, exts. 2013. 2014
Or email: email@example.com
4 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
Her dream was to be an astronaut, not uncommon for 12-
year-olds, but her mother said: NO. It was her grandmother
who brought her back information on NASA, the American
space programme, and from reading it she realised that all
the astronauts were engineers.
So although she relinquished the astronaut ambition,
when Purdy Mohammed enrolled at The University of the
West Indies (UWI) it was at the Faculty of Engineering.
Soon, she found she wasn't too keen on the computer aspect,
"I wasn't good at it," she confesses, but she liked the electrical
element, and by her third year when she had to do Industrial
and Commercial Electrical Systems under the tutelage
of Prof Chandrabhan Sharma, she found it "exciting,"
admitting that she was turned on by how empowering
electricity could be, and that "the idea of dealing with all
that high voltage stuff" just lit her up.
Purdy says she had been inspired by seeing the
possibilities involved in efficiently channelling this source
of energy on a national scale, and she resolved to get first-
class honours at the end of her BSc.
It meant studying for practically 16 hours a day in
her final year, but it was worth it; she graduated with
distinctions, and is now taking a break before resuming a
Master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering
in the new academic year. She's already decided that the
component she wants to do is Power Systems and in the
meantime, she is getting some practical experience on how
She is working at T&TEC on some of their engineering
projects, but she hopes to return to The UWI as a lecturer
when she's finished her MSc and PhD.
Purdy's prize was the Clayton Griffin Student Paper
Award, recognised by the Institute of Electrical and
Electronic Engineers (IEEE) through its Power Engineering
Society. But she almost didn't get it because she didn't
check her e-mails frequently enough and it was only on the
deadline date she noticed that submissions were due. She
had to send it immediately.
It was her final year project paper, "Applying Demand
Side Management to Trinidad Network," dealing with
issues facing our national electricity provider, T&TEC. She
explained that it was initially premised on dealing with
greater demands than supplies.
"Before the economic crisis, we had forecast the load
demands to be greater than what we could supply. For the
next ten years, even the load demand will be twice as much as
we can generate,' she says. "But with the economic downturn
it will change, and we will have to re-forecast that. We need
to install more generators but that will take some time [one
to three years, maybe even five], so I used demand side
management to explore three of six techniques."
Broadly, they come under the related areas of load-
shifting: applying tariffs during peak times (7-9a.m. and 8-
11p.m.) to discourage electricity use; peak- clipping: similar
in concept; and strategic conservation, which would be
more of a public education campaign to encourage people
to invest in energy-efficient appliances, and lowering their
It is a practical approach to a global problem, which is
what the world needs; but surprisingly, despite her intensity,
Purdy never thought the paper would win. She just didn't
believe that someone from a small place stood a chance, and
that is simply shocking. (VB)
From September 2009, The University of the West Indies
will be offering an Engineering Asset Management Masters
(EAM) degree.The programme will be offered part-time in
the evenings over two years, or full-time over one year.
Engineering Asset Management is an emerging
inter-disciplinary field that combines the technical issues
of asset reliability, safety and performance with financial
and managerial skills.The emphasis of EAM is on achieving
sustainable business outcomes and competitive advantage
by applying holistic, systematic and risk-based processes
to decisions concerning an organisation's physical assets,
including its fixed plant, mobile equipment and civil,
electrical and mechanical infrastructure.
This programme is for those wishing to become
maintenance practitioners, but would be useful to engineers
and managers responsibile for plant maintenance and
projects in manufacturing, utilities, energy engineering
and engineering service industries.The programme intake
is limited to about 25 for the first cohort. Graduates will be
Engineering Managers capable of effective management
of the engineering assets of their organisations. Professor
Chanan Syan,Programme Leader for Graduate Studies in the
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering,
describes EAM as"the missing link in the Caribbean."
"Caribbean countries are in that phase of their
development where the majority of the industrial and
economic activities comprise of procuring plant and
assets, using these to produce value-added products
and services locally and internationally. Effective asset
procurement, operation, maintenance and disposal are the
corecompetency requirements for the region.However,there
is no capacity building, development in this critical area of
engineering asset management regionally,"explained Syan,
a professor of Production Engineering and Management.
The development of a body of knowledge to meet the
needs of a competent asset manager is an ongoing issue.
ThreeWorld Congresses on EAM have been held already,and
a fourth is to take place in September 2009 in Greece.The
new UWI programme was developed in partnership with the
University of Toronto (Canada) and the University of Warwick
(UK),and will be run in collaboration with the Arthur LokJack
Graduate School of Business in Mount Hope,Trinidad.
* APPLICATION PROCEDURE Online applications run until
May 15,2009. For application details, please visit http://sta.
uwi.edu/postgrad.apply.asp. Entry requirements include a
BSc in Engineering or Science or an equivalent. One year
of industrial experience is desirable but not necessary.
Candidates with other qualifications will be considered if
they have at least 10 years industrial experience in the area
of Engineering Asset Management.
* POSTGRAD OPTIONS The University of the West
Indies, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Mechanical
and Manufacturing Engineering offers MSc programmes
in Production Engineering & Management, Production
Management, Engineering Management, Manufacturing
Engineering and Engineering Asset Management.Syllabuses
are available online at http://www.sta.uwi.edu/resources/
* FINANCIAL SUPPORT The Department may be able to
provide some financial support for specific research projects.
Trinidad and Tobago nationals are eligible for support under
the GATE programme. For more information, please contact
The Secretary at UWI Faculty of Engineering, Department
of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Production
Engineering and Management Office at (Tel.) 868 662 2002
Exts 2074 or 2067,(Fax) 868 662 4414,or (E-mail) Production.
Engineering@sta.uwi.edu, or visit our website: http://
Purdy Mohammed is the second student from the Faculty of Engineering to win an IEEE award; the first was Kathryn Young.
High Voltage Girl
UWI honours student wins international engineering award
SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009 UWI TODAY 5
1 *P R
The Return of UWI Games
The UWI Games are part of the University's ongoing preparations
for the upcoming inaugural Caribbean Games
In just a few weeks, the St Augustine Campus will
host the 2009 UWI Games. The University's biennial
student games, which are rotated among the three
main UWI campuses, will return to Trinidad next
month. This year's UWI Games will be opened by
Campus Principal Professor Clement Sankat at an
official ceremony on Tuesday 21 May, 2009.
More than 400 athletes from the three main
campuses at St Augustine, Mona (Jamaica) and
Cave Hill (Barbados) are expected to take part in
this year's Games, which will include track and field,
football, netball, cricket, volleyball, basketball, six-a-
side hockey, swimming, table tennis and lawn tennis.
Everything ends at a festive Closing Ceremony on
Tuesday 28 May, 2009.
Most of the events will be held at the UWI St
Augustine Sport and Physical Education Centre
(SPEC). With 34,000-plus sq ft of indoor space,
seating capacity for 1,360 people, and fully equipped
outdoor facilities, UWI SPEC is widely recognised as
a significant resource for regional sport development,
training and research. During the weeklong Games,
the SPEC will be converted into a Recreational Village,
where athletes and supporters can enjoy a relaxed
atmosphere, music and entertainment.
The UWI Games are part of the University's
ongoing preparations for the upcoming inaugural
Caribbean Games, which are carded to take place in
Trinidad late this year, from July 12 to 19. During that
time, the UWI SPEC will again be converted into a
Games Village. From across the region 1,300 athletes
will gather for this significant regional event, the first
of its kind.
The UWI has taken the lead in providing premier
sporting facilities and sport-related academic
programmes in the region. The University's St
Augustine Campus offers sport-related undergraduate
degree programmes such as Sport and Tourism
Management, Sport Management, Coaching and
Physical Education. The University's newest sport
programme is a postgraduate diploma programme
in Sport Management, which will be hosted by an
Institute for Sport Studies housed in UWI SPEC. This
postgraduate programme emerged from a recently
signed agreement between the University and The
International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES), which
is the academic arm of the world football governing
6 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
It's Hillan again
UWI Student Guild Council President, Hillan Morean,
has begun his second consecutive term of office at the St
Augustine Campus, following the March elections held at
the John F. Kennedy Auditorium, UWI St Augustine.
Other successful candidates in the 2009/2010
Returning Student Guild Council President
is congratulated by Deputy Principal,
Professor Rhoda Reddock.
Student Guild elections were Darren Mitchell (Vice
President), Nkese Parris (Secretary), Latoya Lewis
(Treasurer), Diana Hosein (International Affairs
Chairperson), Trevyn Devonish (Games Committee
Chairperson), Rhett Toolsee (Publication Committee
Chairperson), Aaron Thomas (National Affairs
Chairperson), Ravi Babooram (Student Activities
Chairperson), Cherise Algernon (Humanities and
Education Representative), Irwin Hackshaw (Social
Sciences and Law Representative), Nigel Thomas
(Part-time and Evening Student Representative),Aduke
Williams (Postgraduate Representative), Orrette Baker
(Deputy Postgraduate Representative) and Kandice
Gunning (Engineering Representative).
Within the Faculty of Engineering, the new
executive of the Engineering Students Society comprises:
Amit Seeram (Vice President), Triveni Rajiv Maharaj
(Treasurer), Aarti Jagmohansingh (Secretary), Amrit
Ramnarine (Students Coordinator), Gina Marie Gosine
(Public Relations Officer).
Each student who pays the compulsory annual
Guild fee of $175 is a member of the Guild of Students.
The Student Guild Council is a body of representatives
elected by the Guild of Students. Elected students are
known as Guild Councillors. The Councillors represent
and assist students in the areas of academics, extra-
curricular activities and general student life. A Guild
Councillor is the student representative of a particular
committee, faculty or hall of residence. At the St.
Augustine campus, the entire council meets regularly.
Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and
Tobago, Mr Ewart Williams is the new chairman of
the St.Augustine Campus Council of The University
of the West Indies (UWI).
Mr. Williams, who has been serving as Central
Bank Governor since 2002, chaired his first meeting
of the St. Augustine Campus Council on March
17th, 2009. As an outstanding UWI graduate and
postgraduate alumnus, he has also served as the
Chairman of UWI, St. Augustine's Audit Committee.
Welcoming him, Campus Principal, PVC Professor
Clement Sankat paid tribute to his past service to
The UWI and the region. Prior to his appointment
as Governor of the Central Bank, Williams worked
for thirty years at the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), completing his career there as Deputy
Director of the Western Hemisphere Department.
He follows the immediate past Chair, Mr
Michael Mansoor, who first presided over a Campus
Council meeting in March 1997. Mansoor chaired
thirteen meetings of the Campus Council, and
presided over the period of implementation of the
University's first two strategic plans. He oversaw the
implementation of a new system of governance of
the Campus Councils.
Principal Sankat described Mansoor's
contribution as "invaluable," adding that, "our St.
Augustine Campus Council is very grateful for
your time, steadfast support, service and signal
contribution to the University over the past
eleven years. This Campus in particular has been
a beneficiary of the changes that have taken place
over the period in which you had been Chairman
of Campus Council."
While Mansoor ushered in The University's
third strategic plan, it is Williams who will oversee
its continued implementation over the next four
OAS Assistant Secretary General at UWI colloquium
Two days before the Fifth Summit of the Americas,
Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation of
American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, spoke on
'The Western Hemisphere: Beyond the Summit of the
Americas' at an international colloquium organised by
The University of the West Indies (UWI) Institute of
International Relations (IIR).
The colloquium was organised in collaboration with
the Institut quebecois des hautes etudes internationales
(Universit6 Laval) and the Centre for International
Governance Innovation (Waterloo, Canada).
Ramdin's presentation was one of three sessions in
the three-day colloquium. The formal opening included
presentations by Professor Norman Girvan (Professorial
Research Fellow, IIR) and Ms Alexandra Bugailiskis
(Assistant Deputy Minister, Latin America & the Caribbean
& Summit Sherpa, Canada) on the place of the Caribbean in
our turbulent world and the importance of the 5th Summit
of the Americas.
The closing session was a roundtable discussion among
representatives from selective think tanks over the Americas
on the state of inter American relations. Participants
included Carlo Dade (FOCAL), Francisco Rojas (FLACSO),
Cristina Equizabal (LACC), Andres Serbin (CRIES), Paulo
Sotero (WWC) & Tim Shaw (IIR). Several books were
launched: The Summitry of Small States: Towards the
"Caribbean Summit" (CIGI); Diplomacies of Small States:
Between vulnerability & resilience (Palgrave Macmillan);
and Americas Diplomatist Magazine.
OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin has said that the
region should deal head on with its critical challenges "such as
energy, food and environmental crises, as well as the financial crisis."
0 CMPS EW
8 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
BY VANEISA BAKSH
Cocoa was never king in the Caribbean in the way that
sugar, with its enormous plantations and masses of slave
labourers, once was. Yet local cocoa history is one with a
far nobler pedigree.
Ever since the first Spaniards planted the Criollo variety
in 1525, and then later the Forastero variety obtained via
Venezuela when the Criollo was destroyed in 1727 by what
history records as "a blast," cocoa seemed to develop a special
love for this land and it virtually nurtured itself into a hybrid
that naturally selected the best qualities of both original
stocks into one magnificently structured Trinitario.
So superior was this hybrid that its international
stature grew rapidly, and by the early 1800s, Trinidad and
Tobago was producing 20% of the world's cocoa, with only
Venezuela and Ecuador ahead of it. What made it such a
The Criollo is full of flavour and the Forastero is hardy
and vigorous, says Dr Darin Sukha, a research fellow at the
Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) of The University of the West
Indies (UWI). "Trinitario combines the best of both," and
is versatile in cacao breeding programmes because of their
With this superb strain the cocoa industry took off,
with mainly medium and small-holding farmers owning
and running their estates, and between 1866 and 1920 it
dominated the economy.
But everything was about to change.
By then West African nations were producing vast
quantities of cocoa, flooding the market. This was followed
by the economic depression in the 1920s and increasing
sugar prices globally. Locally, the biggest blow came from
Witches' Broom disease in 1928 which hurt the farmers and
this was exacerbated when the fledgling petroleum industry
began to attract agricultural labour.
Cocoa had established its economic importance, so
although production declined, the Cocoa Board of Trinidad
and Tobago was set up to try to revive the industry, but it
continued slumping further as holdings grew even smaller
and labourers, scarcer.
Cocoa lore reveres the rescue story of how Dr F.J. Pound
undertook an exhaustive research survey in T&T between
1930 and 1935 and expeditions to Ecuador and the Upper
Amazon between 1937 and 1942 to find genotypes resistant
to Witches' Broom disease.
This is where The University of the West Indies came
in. People forget that its original incarnation was as the
Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, and most don't
know that given the prominence of cocoa to the economy of
T&T, in 1930, a five-year cocoa research scheme had started,
and by 1955 the Regional Research Centre was set up, leading
to the establishment of the Cocoa Research Unit in 1963.
"By the early 1800s,
Trinidad and Tobago
was producing 20% of
the world's cocoa, with
only Venezuela and
Ecuador ahead of it."
Dr Darin Sukha making cocoa liquors (the base for chocolate)
at his Quality Laboratory, Cocoa Research Unit, UWI.
Dr Pound's extensive survey had resulted in the
Imperial College Selections planted in the San Juan Estate,
Gran Couva, and his expeditions had yielded a collection
of germplasm (trees of particular cacao types) planted
primarily at Marper Farm, Manzanilla. For years too, the
CRU had been conserving cacao germplasm, but they had
been planted at various locations around the country.
By 1980, lack of resources and the threat of genetic
erosion from competing land use meant that something
had to be done urgently. Recognising the international
importance of the collections, the European Development
Fund provided the resources for all the little collections to
be brought together at one properly managed and equipped
site, and so the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad
(ICG, T) was established between 1982 and 1994.
Set up at Centeno at the University Cocoa Research
Station, the priceless collection includes 2,300 accessions
representing the four major cacao groups (Refractario is the
fourth) and clones are added as they become available.
This genebank, managed by the CRU, has been
designated by Bioversity International as a "Universal
Collection," one of two such cacao repositories in the public
Old plantation trees, Imperial College Selection
(ICS) clones, have been replaced on many farms by newer
commercial varieties (Trinidad Selected Hybrids) produced
by the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources
(MALMR) through the breeding programme pioneered
by the late W.E. Freeman. These hybrids have increased
resistance to diseases and favourable agronomic traits. The
Ministry of Agriculture has considered quality as one of the
selection criteria in its breeding programme and its TSH
selections and their progenies have been made available to
farmers. All of the commercial and superior TSH clones
distributed to farmers have also been subjected to sensory
analysis at the Cocoa Research Unit.
The 65% premium
under contract by
for the Cocoa and
Board using Grade
1 cocoa beans from
estates managed by
PRISM Agri Estates
SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009 UWI TODAY 9
BY FRANCES BEKELE
Cocoa Research Unit at work
The Cocoa Research Unit's (CRU) research is core funded
by the Government ofTrinidad andTobago and international
partners such as the Cocoa Research Association (UK).
Its primary research activities are to make cocoa
planting material available with improved traits such as:
high yield potential,disease resistance, high fat content and
good flavour characteristics.
It is also the custodian of the International Cocoa
Genebank, Trinidad (ICG, T), and in that role, has focused
on the conservation,characterisation (both morphological
and molecular), evaluation and enhancement and use of
the collection. The ICG, T has 12,000 trees making up its
2,300 accessions, which are groups of trees belonging to
the same family.
Work in these four areas is funded through research
projects with international commodity bodies such as
the United Nations Common Fund for Commodities,
Bioversity International and the World Cocoa Foundation.
Currently at CRU, there are 10 internationally and locally
funded collaborative research projects centered on the
ICG, T. Many of these projects include active co-financing
and counterpart contribution from within the chocolate
industry.The CRU's work involves continuously seeking new
avenues for funding,and disseminating its research findings
in various local and international conference proceedings,
newsletters and peer-reviewed journals.
The CRU functions at several levels.It provides training
and quality assessments to the Ministry of Agriculture,
Land and Marine Resources (MALMR) in screening new
commercial type cocoa types before they are released to
farmers. Cocoa accessions identified from its germplasm
screening and enhancement programme for Black Pod and
Witches' Broom diseases are distributed internationally via
quarantine to cocoa breeding programmes and also form
part of the MALMR's local breeding programme.
It screens the quality of beans from cocoa buying
agents and trains them and fermentary operators in optimal
cocoa post harvest processing for the Cocoa and Coffee
It works directly with some large farmers (who
ship their cocoa privately and directly to chocolate
manufacturers) to maintain high quality.
It is part of the National Cocoa Stakeholders Steering
Committee and Working Group,helping to train farmers and
guide the rebuilding process.
The CRU also collaborates with other research centres
such as CIRAD (Centre de Cooperation Internationale en
Recherche Agronomique pour le Development,France) and
universities (such as Hamburg,Germany and Towson, USA)
along with other UWI departments.
For instance, Dr Ivan Chang Yen of UWI's Department
of Chemistry is involved in two State-funded projects; one
that looks at heavy metals and Ochratroxin A (a fungal toxin)
in local cocoa beans.This is primarily to protect the health
of consumers and will enable a Hazard Analysis and Critical
Control Point (HACCP)-based system for cocoa production,
and thus a system of certification.
The other project led by Dr Chang Yen is based on the
findings that dark chocolates contain healthy anti-oxidant
and nutritive properties, known as neutraceuticals. Since
the level of these neutraceuticals in local cocoa is unknown,
the project seeks to"chemically characterise the flavour and
neutraceutical content of local cocoa beans and to correlate
their chemistries to their respective sensory qualities."
Ever since local cocoa research began, the task of
assembling the ICG,T has spanned 60 years of effort,largely
driven by the succession of reputable scientists associated
with this historical centre of excellence.
More than 15 million people in African, Caribbean and
Pacific countries are directly involved in cacao cultivation,
with approximately 2.5 to three million small-holder cocoa
farmers in over 50 countries. The World Cocoa Foundation
reported that 40-50 million people depend on cocoa for
their livelihood, and in 2008, the International Cocoa
Organisation projected that world cocoa production would
increase from around 3.7 million tonnes in 2007-2008 to
about 4.5 million tonnes in 2012-13 with consumption
almost on par. The annual earnings of the global cocoa and
chocolate industry are estimated at US$70 billion.
A ready market exists for all the cocoa Trinidad and
Tobago can produce because of its premium quality and
lack of restrictive quotas. The reputation of T&T's cocoa as
100% fine or flavour is well-known, and this cocoa is sought
by manufacturers of delectable dark chocolates. This is why
Trinidad and Tobago's cocoa currently commands between
US $4,500 to $5,300 per tonne compared to US $2,300
per tonne paid for bulk cocoa (used to make high-volume
Yet over the last three decades, cocoa production,
exports, acreage under cultivation and farmer participation
in T&T have been declining steadily. Approximately 2,000
farmers now grow cocoa locally (compared to 10,000 in
1966). During the last five years, total local production has
not exceeded 1.6 million kgs (metric tonnes) per annum.
With low cocoa yields (less than 300 kg/ha), production
costs were cited as TT$7-11/kg in 1999. Currently, farmers
receive TT$20/kg for Grade 1 cocoa.
Only 10% of those farmers are between the ages of 20
and 40 while 85% are between 40 and 55. There is a drive to
attract youth to cocoa farming, and to create value-added
enterprises based on cocoa. Ten cocoa farmers' groups have
been formed nationally with the help of the Cocoa and
Coffee Industry Board (CCIB). The groups meet monthly,
and are targeted for training by the Cocoa Stakeholders
Committee, which was launched by The Ministry of
Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources (MALMR) in
Three key Divisions in the MALMR, viz., the Research,
Agricultural Services and the Extension Training and
Information Services work together to ensure that farmers
have access to superior planting material and are informed
about recommended practices for growing, harvesting and
The CCIB was launched by an Act of Parliament in
1961 to "secure the most favourable arrangements for the
purchase, sale, handling, grading, exportation and marketing
of cocoa as well as coffee for the benefit of the industry."
The CCIB has expanded its role to "encourage cocoa
production" in order to continue to attract premium prices
and sustain and satisfy the demand for local cocoa. With the
Agricultural Development Bank, CCIB has launched The
Cocoa Revitalizer Programme, which has financially assisted
246 farmers on a total of 2390 acres.
At the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU), research is ongoing;
including studies on diversity assessment, screening for
Witches' Broom and Black Pod disease resistance, germplasm
enhancement (pre-breeding) and flavour assessment,
among others. The results of the CRU's various research
activities are well documented and have been of enormous
value to cocoa researchers worldwide. CRU manages one of
the largest and most diverse collections of cacao germplasm
in the world, the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad
(ICG, T). The genetic resources conserved in the ICG, T are
actively being used to benefit the local and international
The CRU's research, coupled with the superior planting
material from MALMR, attractive incentive programmes
and other efforts of MALMR and CCIB, should encourage
existing farmers and stimulate interest in the industry
among the youth. It is critical that problems associated with
access to capital and land tenure be addressed. This approach
will offset the constraints of labour, and the high per capita
costs associated with the primary processing of cocoa.
With increased production, it will be possible to
add value to the primary product through down-stream
processing. This could include the use of by-products and
wastes such as the pod wall or husk to produce livestock feed.
There is also a potential to produce specialty products such
as cocoa juices, liquors, ice cream, jams, and jellies among
others. Everything is in place; all we need is the will.
UWI, St Augustine Principal, Prof Clement Sankat, shakes hands with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, His Excellency Hans
P.P.M. Horbach at the Commissioning Ceremony of the newly laid irrigation system at the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad. Looking on
are Dr Marcel Vernooij, representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands (at right); Dr Michelle End of
the Cocoa Research Association, UK (third from left) and Prof Dyer Narinesingh, Dean, Faculty of Science and Agriculture (partly hidden). In the
foreground is Mr Yunusa Abubakar of the International Cocoa Organisation.
10 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
Left: Mrs Merle Ali, HIV/AIDS activist and Dr Dorrell Philip,
a motivational youth speaker spoke at the forum.
Passing on the care
Students of The University of the West Indies (UWI)
organised a public forum on April 3,2009 called,"Nurturing
a Caring Society-Pass it on." The forum took place at the
Trincity Mall and aimed at increasing social consciousness
and affecting change that will encourage the country's
transformation into a more caring society.
The Social Policy and Administration students intend
to translate their theories of social work into real benefits
for society. They wanted to make the public more sensitive
to the ways in which individual actions contribute to the
national deficit in positive values. The forum also focused on
young people and socially displaced groups, such as persons
living with HIV/ AIDS, mentally and physically challenged
persons, and the elderly.
It is notjust high murder and crime rates in the Caribbean
that have contributed to a climate of fear and despair, it is
also the unacceptably low rates of arrests, detections and
successful prosecutions that leave citizens feeling hopeless
and perpetually vulnerable.
Forensic technology provides an important tool in
evidence gathering and contributes significantly towards
successful convictions. While forensic sciences have been
used in the region for an appreciable time, most publications
on the subject have focused on North American and
A new volume on the subject, "A Crime-Solving
Toolkit: Forensics in the Caribbean" promises to bring
a geographic and cultural relevance to the area. Edited
by Dr Basil Reid, a lecturer in Archaeology at the UWI,
St Augustine, the collection focuses on disaster-victim
identification protocols, forensic anthropology, computer
forensics, geospatial technologies, shoe-print identification,
suicide hangings and forensic linguistics.
It includes case
studies from Trinidad
and Tobago, Barbados,
Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana,
Haiti, the Dominican
Republic and Guatemala.
The contributors are
Cheryl A. Corbin, Sheau-
Dong Lang, NazirAlladin,
Parris Lyew-Ayee, Trevor
A CRIM E- Modeste, Basil A. Reid,
SOLVIN G Godfrey A. Steele and
Calle Winskog. The book
T L T is a publication of the UWI
Press and is available at The
asII A. Reid UWI Bookshop.
This year has been declared the International Year
of Astronomy, celebrating 400 years since Galileo
looked through the telescope, launching us into an era
of enhanced vision into the Universe. Astronomy is
one of the most dynamic fields where new discoveries
are routinely made as humanity boldly goes where
no man has ever gone before in increasing our
reach and observation of the Universe. As part of
the International Year of Astronomy recognition,
UWI launches a new course on "Introduction to
Astronomy" (PHYS 1001) from the Department
of Physics, Faculty of Science and Agriculture. This
course traces the development of Astronomy from
ancient times in different cultures like the Greek,
Babylonian, and the Mayan inputs into Astronomy.
It leads the participant on a journey from our own
solar system, exploding and dying stars into the far
reaches of distant galaxies. On the way exotic objects
like quasars are explored towards understanding
their role in the Universe. The origins of the Universe
is explored in light of the standard Big Bang model
and the course ends on the philosophical and
sobering note of search for life in the Universe and
some of the research being undertaken at UWI as
This three-credit course is open to students
from all faculties and other non-campus persons.
There are no formal prerequisites, except for normal
matriculation requirements for UWI. The course
lecturer is Dr. Shirin Haque, Astronomer at UWI.
Dr. Dianne Williams and Prof. Onwubiko Agozino at the
"Developing a Caribbean Criminology" conference 2009.
Professor Agozino is the coordinator of the Criminology
Unit, host of the conference.
It couldn't have come at a better time: "Developing
a Caribbean Criminology," was the theme of a
two-day conference earlier this month hosted
by the Criminology Unit of The University of
the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus.
The conference, held at the Institute of Critical
Thinking, was part of a multidisciplinary research
project investigating the causes of crime both
locally and internationally.
There were 33 presentations from researchers
around the world with one common bond: they
each had an interest in the area and had looked at
the Caribbean situation.
Speaking on the second day, Dr Dianne
Williams said the models currently used locally:
crime control and due process, have been ineffective.
The problem, she said, is that both were retributive,
punitive models and it is now necessary to look
at a different approach to reducing crime. She
recommended the concept of restorative justice,
which focuses directly on the victims and the
offenders and seeks redress and some degree of
satisfaction for the victim, and consequences for
One of the organisers, Keron King said,
"This conference was the culmination of a grant
funded by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago
through The UWI St Augustine Researcher-
Initiated programme to study the causes of crime in
the country, the region and globally. Consequently,
the Unit thought it wise to host a Criminology
Conference with the sole aim of evaluating the
contributions to a Caribbean Criminology."
The next step will be to combine all the
presentations into one manuscript for publication
in the hope that it will provide a useful guide. Also,
said King, a research assistant at the Criminology
Unit, the conference provided a useful opportunity
to broaden the network of researchers involved
in this area. The plan is also to work more closely
with the criminal justice system, and to strengthen
The UWI Institute of Criminology based at the
Featured speakers were Professor Ramesh
Deosaran, Professor at the Centre for Criminology
and Public Safety at the University of Trinidad and
Tobago, and Professor David Plummer, Adjunct
Professor in Public Health at the University of
0 CMPS EW
SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009 UWI TODAY 11
Thanks to 16 years
of Food Network's
marketing on cable TV,
everyone knows what
EVOO is and what's
more, hasbeen persuaded
that extra virgin olive oil
is the slick, chic way to
So what has made
this fruit oil so beguiling
that we are prepared to
payup to five times more
for it than any of the over
Dr. Dan Ramdath says you thirty different types
should use all oils sparingly, of available edible oils?
Even in these recessionary times, the appearance of several
different brands and qualities in supermarkets, ranging in
labels from 'extra-virgin' to plain 'olive oil,' suggests that
despite its costliness, it is the new signature ingredient of
the modern kitchen.
So, is EVOO all it's cracked up to be, or have we been
seduced by shrewd marketing into adopting it as a status
Dr Dan Ramdath, Professor of Biochemistry at The
University of the West Indies (UWI) and Registered
Nutritionist (UK), remembers olive oil being around in the
old days when pharmacies stocked it as sweet oil, used for
softening ear wax. A rather mundane Caribbean origin-but
one that burgeoned as communications technology let us
in on its prominence in the Mediterranean diet and its
association with reduced risk for coronary heart disease.
Prof Ramdath says that Mediterranean uses of the oil
involve light drizzles on salads or brushing it onto fish,
meat or vegetables just before serving, and rarely involves
heating or frying, but people don't realise that cooking with
the oil actually alters its effects significantly, and so blithely
fry everything in it.
"When polyunsaturated fatty acids are heated, they
absorb oxygen from the air and the process of rancidity is
initiated. As the oil is progressively exposed to more oxygen
or is heated further it takes up more oxygen and starts
smelling rancid. In our bodies, antioxidants such as Vitamin
C, E, and carotene prevent our cells from going rancid. In
oils, this process is called oxidation and can be prevented
to some extent by the use of antioxidants. In addition, the
structure of the fatty acids change and these changes can
have adverse effects on LDL and HDL and the risk for heart
attack'," he says.
Is Extra Virgin better?
You can sprinkle practically any kind of oil onto your
salads, he says, it really is a matter of taste; and as with
everything else, the difference in health benefits has more
to do with how much you use. Olive oil might be different
from other oils in some ways, but excess is always bad.
"The difference is due to the building blocks of
dietary fats called fatty acids. Fatty acids can become
rancid when exposed to air and this depends on their
chemical structure. Those rich in saturated fats like
coconut oil are resistant to rancidity. Olive oil is rich in
monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to
lower LDL (high risk cholesterol) with modest increases in
HDL (protective cholesterol). Interestingly, avocado has a
fat profile that is similar to olive oil. Other oils (sunflower,
or canola, or soya or grapeseed) are predominantly rich in
polyunsaturated fatty acids which promote favourable LDL
but also reduce HDL; so like all types of oils it is important
to use it sparingly"' says Prof Ramdath.
"Grapeseed oil is very interesting because recent
research has shown that it contains compounds that have
beneficial effects on cell growth and antioxidant status. These
compounds are similar to those that cause the colouring of
most fruits and vegetables (called flavonoids) and have been
shown to improve the ability of our body to handle sugar,
which is very promising for persons with pre-diabetes or
diabetes. Some flavonoids found in grapeseed also stimulate
cellular metabolism and help to burn off excess calories in
rats, which prevent the onset of diabetes,' he says.
Cooks will be happy to know that grapeseed oil has
a high smoking point so it can be used to cook at high
temperatures: stir-fries and sautes, for instance. And it's
good for your skin too: recommended as an all-over skin
moisturizer, said to reduce the visibility of stretch marks, and
used as a lubricant for shaving. However, it is fairly expensive
as well, roughly three times the cost of vegetable oil.
Prof Ramdath contends that there really is no safe,
healthy oil, "but rather it is the amount of oils and other fats
you consume in your daily meals that is more important."
Most health problems, like hypertension and diabetes,
are associated with large waist circumferences-a result
mainly of overeating. His advice?
Eat less, remove skin and fat from meats, avoid fried
foods; try them grilled, barbecued or baked, and watch out
"The bottom line," he says, "is to stay away from fats
and oils, minimise usage when necessary and use the money
spent in buying expensive 'healthy oils' to buy more fruits
and vegetables, and a good pair of running shoes."
- GRADE THEM
Virgin means the oil was produced
with no chemical treatments.
Refined means that the oil has
been chemically altered; usually to
neutralise strong tastes.
Extra-virgin and virgin olive oils
ought not to contain any refined
oils, which are considered to be
inferior in quality.
Oils graded as Pure Olive Oil or
Olive Oil are usually a blend of
refined and virgin production oil.
A wide variety of olive oils is available at supermarkets, and despite high prices, managers say they are hot sellers ...and high pilferage items.
A 750ml bottle of Taliani Extra-Virgin Olive Oil retails locally for $225.
1 0 HEALTH
12 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
the wayto go...
We should be
During the last National Budget presentation,
the point was repeatedly made that the
approach to development would be 'people-
oriented.'Dr Rajendra Kumar Rastogi believes
that in the dairy sector,this approach must take
the form of cooperative structures.
What is the role for cooperatives in our modern economic
scenario? After all, have we not embarked on a new
economic path in which privatisation, globalisation and
liberalisation are the catch words? Why should anyone
be concerned with whether or not cooperatives enjoy a
These questions are important not just for the thousands
of our small farmers, but for the wider Caribbean.
Land is perhaps the most important income-generating
asset in the rural economies of Trinidad and Tobago and
other Caribbean countries. Yet scarcity of land (particularly
freehold) and its skewed distribution are two of the major
constraints of the rural Caribbean landscape. Not only is
it limited, a large portion consists of holdings other than
small farmers' holdings. Small farmers in the Caribbean,
accounting for more than 60 per cent of rural households,
have access to only about 30 per cent of arable land. There
are approximately 1,500 small dairy farms in Trinidad
While various types of farmers' cooperatives play
a useful role in promoting rural development, dairy
cooperatives have special attributes that make them
particularly suitable. They can facilitate the development
of rural economies, thus upgrading the standard of living
of the poor and not so poor.
The main constraint that milk producers seek to
overcome by acting collectively is the marketing of their
product. They need to be assured of a secure market. Dairy
farmers can cooperatively establish their own collection
system and milk treatment facility to convert their
perishable primary produce, which requires special and
timely attention, into products with longer lasting quality.
The Minister of Agriculture, Land and Marine
Resources understands the importance of dairy cooperatives
in bringing about an increase in milk production with
simultaneous upliftment of the rural poor.
As a first step, the Minister should dispatch a team of five
people to study the cooperative milk producers' organisation
in Anand, India. The team should comprise two officials
from the Ministry and one each from The University of the
West Indies, small dairy-farming community and medium-
to-large dairy-farmers' group. The team's study tour should
be routed through the existing mechanism of the Technical
and Economic Cooperation with the Government of India
which should be further requested to provide technical
assistance to help develop the dairy cooperative movement
here in Trinidad and Tobago.
The law concerning the definition
of 'milk' is in urgent need of
revision. At present, only cow's
milk is defined as 'milk' and only
the producers of this milk (and no
other types, for example, buffalo,
goat, sheep, etc.) are entitled to
Dr Rajendra Rastogi
The laws concerning the establishment and operation
of cooperatives in the country should be reviewed and
amended to facilitate setting up dairy cooperatives. The
law concerning the definition of "milk" is in urgent need
of revision. At present, only cow's milk is defined as "milk"
and only the producers of this milk (and no other types,
for example, buffalo, goat, sheep, etc.) are entitled to State's
assistance. The law is strangling dairy development, as cows
are not the most efficient/economic producers of milk in
For years, I have argued that water buffaloes are better
suited to the production of milk and meat than cows under
local environmental conditions. There has been limited
success, but the Government's Aripo Livestock Research
Station now has a pilot herd of buffaloes for this purpose.
However, buffalo milk cannot be sold for money under
the present law and thus has to be given away freely. No
wonder small farmers are not interested in buffaloes for
Rice farmers should immediately integrate buffaloes
into their farming system, utilising the straw to produce
meat, even while waiting for the law to be amended to
include the sale of buffalo milk, which can be used in the
production of ice creams and yoghurt for example, until
the taste for it is acquired.
Praedial larceny is another important constraint to
livestock sector development and the law must be modified
to include life imprisonment as punishment. Praedial larceny
is no less significant in its economic impact on society than
the problem of narcotics and marijuana cultivation and
should be treated with the same urgency and resources.
A minimum of five to ten years must be allowed for
this movement to anchor itself among the grassroots
people through education programmes. This means that
once a policy on dairy cooperatives is formulated, it must
be followed to its logical conclusion, regardless of which
political party is in government.
The Government should encourage cooperatives as a
vehicle for its people-oriented dairy development. There are
problems to be addressed, however, including an insufficient
number of dairy animals of the right genetic quality;
inefficient management; low standards of hygiene on farms;
inadequate nutrition of livestock; archaic laws; praedial
larceny; and lack of proper leadership. Moreover, since
the government is unable to allocate new funds towards
expensive imports of heifers from temperate countries
of the North, it must give attractive incentives for the
implementation of heifer-rearing schemes by private farms
initially and the cooperatives later. Significant resources
should be channeled to develop buffaloes for milk. At the
same time, male calves should be reared for fattening on a
feedlot system for the meat industry. These can be fed on
agro-industrial by-products such as rice straw, grain-milling
industry by-products, and fruit-cannery waste products.
Dr Rajendra Kumar Rastogi is a Senior Lecturer,
Department of Food Production, The UWI, St. Augustine.
SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009 UWI TODAY 13
Betyou didn't know that livestock are responsible for 18%
of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. That's
more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put
together (13%). When you think of the awful stink caused by
motorised transport as opposed to the innocuous existence
of animals, it sounds incredible.
Unfortunately, the world's livestock population is
mainly ruminants-sheep, goats, cattle, camel, buffalo-whose
four-chambered stomachs generate the methane that has
21 times more of an impact on temperature than carbon
dioxide does. (The methane comes from the chamber called
the rumen where bacteria are broken down.)
Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting
gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's
emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid
If that isn't startling enough, the 2006 report of the
Food and Agricultural Organisation identified ranching as
the major driver of deforestation. And just imagine, cows
use 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk!
It's not the animals' fault; it is the level of animal
husbandry resulting from humans' escalating appetite
for their flesh. Eating meat warms the planet drastically,
said Professor Chandrabhan Sharma, as he encouraged
vegetarianism or lower meat intake as ways to retard global
In a provocative series of questions and assessments,
Prof Sharma's recent professorial inaugural lecture shied
away from nothing as he comprehensively addressed the
subject of renewable energy by asking "Is this the panacea
for sustainable energy security in an island state?"
Despite his fascinating environmental data, he is
actually a professor of electrical and computing engineering
at The University of the West Indies, and his lecture focused
on exploring the energy challenges facing [small] islands...
across a spectrum where any one point is cause for alarm.
He broadly identified the problems as pollution,
increasing population, finite land mass, global climate
change and growing petroleum consumption and variable
Then he went into several possible sources of renewable
energy-solar, wind, wave and ocean, geothermal, bio-mass
and hydro-exploring each one's potential in terms of what
it entails, how it can be used, the cost of installing and
sustaining its technology and infrastructure and making
recommendations based upon this detailed analysis.
For instance, he recommended that photovoltaic (PV)
solar energy was not cost effective as the electrification rate
is about 98% (and solar power requires significant land area:
five to 10 acres per megawatt of power, plus it produces toxic
wastes in the manufacture of the photo-cells). On-shore
wind energy farms were not particularly feasible for small
islands because inter alia, funding costs are very high and
an island's demand may be inadequate: it would require
cranes with the capacity for lifting 80-metre long towers; it
needs large acreages and wind variability would still require
back-up power. Its feasibility could be improved, however,
in a supportive environment.
On the other hand, he thinks that soon, dual-use
applications of wave energy technology may prove
cost effective: "Power generation technologies could be
incorporated into breakwaters harbour walls or other
structures or they could be integrated with other commercial
activities, acting as artificial reefs for marine agriculture
operations or as platforms for desalination facilities."
Prof Sharma warned that geo-thermal energy "which
is transformed into energy (electricity or direct heat) is
an extremely capital-intensive and technology-dependent
As for bio fuels, he reminded that they were intended
to reduce emissions, but argued that emissions will increase
if forests are cleared for bio fuel crops and if peaty soils
are burned or disturbed. He cautioned policy makers to
be mindful of this as well as the costs of production and
transportation as he was not convinced it would be cost
It is all about creating an enabling environment,
said Prof Sharma; one that includes sustainability
and interdisciplinary competence, capacity, planning,
implementation, evaluation and assessment.
Sharma explores energy
security in islands and
reveals some startling data
From his analysis, he concludes that with the exception
of "biomass co-firing" no renewable energy technology is
able to generate power commercially without some form
of financial support. He also advocates policy measures to
overcome some of the market barriers he envisages-such as
lack of information, institutional barriers, the small size of
renewable energy companies and high financing costs.
He encourages public involvement in the quest to adopt
renewable energy sources as a path to sustainability of life.
So, what can you do?
You can understand your role in the process. Human
consumption has contributed significantly to the depletion
of energy sources and endangered our planet. We are now
at the point where we have to pay the price for that wanton
abuse. Prof Sharma urges that citizens lobby for policies that
focus on development and implementation of renewable
energy systems; that we practise efficient energy use; that
we support development and research efforts into new
fuels...and of course, watch what you eat!
Animal agriculture uses 30% of earth's land surface.
Worldwide, meat production is the major cause of
Every minute,the equivalent of seven football fields
is bulldozed for animal husbandry.
Irrigating feed grains and raising livestock accounts
for over 50% of fresh water used in the USA.
Globally, ruminant livestock produce about 80
million metric tons of methane annually,accounting
for about 28% of global methane emissions from
The Bottom Line
Increasing levels of greenhouse gases-and the
climate change they are causing-are real and they
are a major problem
To stabilise concentrations,the world is going to have
to reduce its emissions of CO2 and other green house
gases by at least 90%.
Over the coming decades,there will be pressure for
enormous changes in the nature and operation of
the global energy systems.
A global system for control can be built up over time
from separate regional efforts.A global agreement is
not the necessary first step.
Commercialization barriers faced by newtechnologies
competing with mature technologies
Price distortions from existing subsidies and unequal
tax burdens between renewables and other energy
Failure of the market to value the public benefits of
renewables... Kyoto Protocol
Market barriers such as inadequate information,
lack of access to capital,"split incentives" between
building owners and tenants, and high transaction
costs for making small purchases.
14 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
Coastal students not quite at sea!
At the end of March this year, for the first time, students
studying the MSc in Coastal Zone Engineering and
Management attended a field trip in Charlotteville, Tobago.
This was part of the module on Coastal Zone Metrics
which aims to provide an understanding of measurement
techniques used in the coastal region for environmental
assessment, shoreline management and coastal engineering
Fifteen students attended the course, which was
supervised by Professor Andrew Chadwick (professor of
Coastal Engineering), David Neale (part-time lecturer
and director of Cane Associates) and Dr Joanna Ibrahim
(part-time lecturer). The students were set a comprehensive
scoping study for the potential upgrading of the beach
facilities at Man-O-War Bay, involving measurements of
beach profiles and material properties, sea bed contours, tidal
currents and water levels and water quality parameters.
They worked in groups of five, spending the day taking
measurements and the evenings preparing the reports and
making presentations. The hard work was enjoyed by all
and by the end of the trip everyone was exhausted but very
satisfied. A celebratory barbecue was held on the Saturday
evening, before returning to Trinidad the next day.
Beach profile surveying: Cristal Narine looks through the
level, while Tamara Goberdhan takes notes.
SCharlotteville: Sediment input into the beach system, note
the poorly designed pier in the background.
Transfer from pier to survey vessel: As their backs are turned to us, we can't be too
sure how Rameez Persad and Candice Leung Chee are faring, but from the looks
on the faces of Maurice Wylie, Dhanishi Bhagwandeen and Astrel Medina, no one
seems seasick yet.
BSc in Optometry
This September,The University of theWest Indies (UWI) will
begin another new undergraduate degree programme, a
BSc in Optometry,the first of its kind in the Caribbean aimed
to change the way we view...well,everything.
"A dream come true," is how Optometrist Petra
Bridgemohan, one of the coordinators of the new
programme, describes watching her project come to life.
Sight is one of our most vital senses; and according to two
of the BSc in Optometry coordinators, Bridgemohan and
UWI Physics Professor Ramsey Saunders, the shortfalls in
the local and regional field of optometry are plain to see.
They point out that you are hard-pressed to find persons
who don't have family members who have suffered with
cataracts,glaucoma,childhood eye diseases or many of the
other prevalent ailments related to sight.
Optometrists are trained professionals who examine
eyes, give advice on visual problems, prescribe and fit
spectacles and refer patients with eye disease to medical
colleagues. In Trinidad and Tobago, there are only 98
registered optometrists, 97 of whom are in the private
sector. At present, Bridgemohan is the only optometrist
who works in the public sector, a situation she describes
Prof Saunders notes that the most prominent aim
is to "prevent preventable blindness" through effective
screening and monitoring of health care systems.
The UWI's programme isa hybrid,says thecoordinators.
In order to ensure that the programme was unique, they
created "a hybrid of all the different [academic] systems,
designed to suit the demands and evolving needs of the
region."A UWI team has visited international universities
with the most respected Optometry programmes, over a
period of years, liaising with accreditation councils and
researching academic curricula. The course will cover a
broad range of topics including anatomy, physiology,
clinical optometry, visual optics, ocular pharmacology,
communication skills and law and optometric management.
The final product is what they've termed "an optometrist's
wish list,"and is expected to turn out excellent specialists,
well-equipped to deliver above satisfactory vision care.
This undergraduate degree is a four-year programme,
with the first three years devoted to theoretical training.The
fourth year will serve as an internship where students will
gain practical experience at public and private eye clinics,
with qualified supervisors.Applicants to this program must
have obtained at least a Grade 2 in GCE Advanced Levels in
three subjects,which must include Physics and Chemistry.
An appropriate associate degree or relevant experience
will also be considered.This selection process is expected
to be highly competitive as the first batch of students is
expected to be limited to 25 persons, due to the need to
provide highly specialised equipment for all.
Bridgemohan has high hopes for the programme
and its students, noting "graduates are expected to be
policy makers in eye care in the region." She said it is
not common knowledge that professionals in the field
of ophthalmology were the ones responsible for driving
the fight to implement the law compelling drivers and
passengers to wear seatbelts,an act motivated by the high
percentage of eye injuries suffered during car accidents.
She expects the programmes to produce like-minded
professionals who can advance the region's mindset where
eye care is concerned.
Is there a link between research and policy? The
Sustainable Economic Development Unit (SEDU)
of The University of the West Indies (UWI), with
the support of The UNESCO Kingston Cluster
Office for the Caribbean, addressed this question in
the conference entitled "Bridging the Gap between
Research and Policy for Sustainable Development
in Caribbean Small Island Developing States
(SIDS)". The Conference was held at the Faculty
of Social Sciences Lounge, UWI, St. Augustine
The conference reflects SEDU's continued
efforts to deepen discussions on how research
institutions and can collaborate with national
industries to bridge the gap between research and
policy, and achieve sustainable development.
0 NEWD PRGRMM
SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009 UWI TODAY 15
comes to SPEC
In a move targeted at strengthening the country's standing
in the international sporting fraternity, The University of
the West Indies (UWI) has sealed an agreement with The
International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) to launch a
postgraduate diploma programme in Sport Management,
under the auspices of the world governing body in football,
On March 25, UWI St Augustine Campus Principal
Professor Clement Sankat, signed this landmark agreement
alongside Mr.Vincent Monnier, Senior Manager International
Relations and Professor Pierre Lanfranchi, Scientific General
Coordinator. Also present were Minister of Sport and
Youth Affairs Gary Hunt, and Mr. Oliver Camps, President,
Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
With this new programme, UWI joins the FIFA/CIES
International University Network, which, to date, counts
nine universities from Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt,
Senegal, South Africa, Turkey, and the Ukraine.
Professor Sankat noted that the executive sport
management programme is"the first of its kind in the region
to be offered at a tertiary level."
Mr. Monnier said participants in the region would be
charged with learning how to "apply theories learnt and
adapt them to local realities."
Professor Lanfranchi pointed out that "the sports
industry is the only field which aligns passion, games and
benefits." He praised the local sports industry for what he
termed "lots of goodwill," but felt it suffered from a lack of
formation, due to the deficit in formal training.
The new UWI/CIES programme will provide a
wide platform of formal training in sport management,
marketing, finance, law, communication, event management
and facilities management. It will be coordinated by the
Faculty of Social Sciences, and will be housed by an Institute
of Sport Studies, established under the umbrella of the UWI
Sport and Physical Education Centre (SPEC).
Minister Hunt assured that the government "endorses
this initiative wholeheartedly" and hoped that "this
programme will lend support to the national vision for
sport in Trinidad and Tobago."
UWI Sport and Physical Education Director, Dr Iva
Gloudon, said, "What this Institute will do is bring all of
the University's academic, recreational and competitive
physical education programmes under one umbrella. The
focus of the Institute will be to develop a robust academic
outlook on sport and physical education and to create a
meaningful body of rigorous research about Caribbean
people by Caribbean people. There is very little research
out there on us, and even less research out there by us. This
academic research can be used to inform all of our sport
programmes, whether recreational or competitive, whether
community-based or regional."
Dr Gloudon was key to the signing of a previous
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UWI
Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris and FIFA
President, Mr. Joseph Blatter in September 2008. That MOU,
the predecessor of last month's agreement, established an
agreement between UWI and FIFA to undertake cooperative
programmes in the areas of research, training, education and
facilities development in sport management, education and
administration. Professor Sankat hosted the 2008 UWI-FIFA
MOU signing, which was attended by representatives of the
Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education and
the Ministry of Sport; Mr. Austin 'Jack' Warner, FIFA Vice
President; Mr. Oliver Camps, President of the TTFF; and
Lord David Triesman, Chairman of the English Football
Dr Iva Gloudon, UWI Director of Sport and Physical Education addresses attendees at the signing of the landmark agreement between FIFA and
The UWI. Also at the head table were FIFA's Professor Pierre Lanfranchi, Scientific General Coordinator, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs
Gary Hunt, Vincent Monnier, Senior Manager International Relations, FIFA, UWI St Augustine Campus Principal Professor Clement Sankat, and
Oliver Camps, President, Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
For more information about this programme, please contact Dr. Iva Gloudon,
UWI Director of Sport and Physical Education, at (868) 662-2002 Ext. 2307 or email Iva.Gloudon@sta.uwi.edu.
The University of the West Indies (UWI), School of
Advanced Nursing Education has introduced a postgraduate
programme that will help to meet the Caribbean region's
need for high-quality health care, particularly in the field
The Master of Science in Advanced Nursing (MScN),
the latest addition to the University's Faculty of Medical
Sciences at Mt Hope, is the first accredited programme of
its kind in that country.Setto launch in September 2009,the
MScN will soon be equipping a new generation of nurses to
assume leadership roles in the areas of nursing education,
management, clinical specialties and other professional
positions within the health care system.
MSN graduates will develop an understanding
of health care policy, organisation and financing, and,
participate in the design and implementation of care in a
variety of health care systems,and assume a leadership role
in the management of health care resources.
"Before this programme,advanced Nursing education
at the postgraduate level almost did not exist in Trinidad
and Tobago,"says Dr Meryl Price, Director of the UWI School
of Advanced Nursing Education (SANE).She explained that,
previously,local nurses who wanted to pursue an advanced
nursing degree either had to go to Jamaica or migrate out
of the Caribbean.
The MScN is also available to professionals wanting
greater knowledge of the field of Nursing.The programme is
being offered full-time in modular format,to facilitate those
who prefer to remain in practice while studying.
Structured around the major components of theory,
research and clinical,the MSN focuses on central concepts
of leadership, critical thinking, decision making, evidence
based practice and planned change. It eliminates the
prolonged use of lecturing as the sole teaching method,
by integrating a number of different forms of distance
(CAl),mentoring and service-based learning.
The UWI Medical Sciences Faculty plans to expose
students to teaching from faculty in schools of nursing
in the USA, Canada and UK, where SANE has established
linkages with Michigan State University, College of
Nursing, Mc Master University, School of Nursing, Sheffield
University School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of
Virginia School of Nursing at Charlotteville,and University
of California, LA School of Nursing.
Since its establishment in 2004, SANE has launched
two undergraduate degree programmes-the Bachelor
of Science (BSc) Nursing in 2005 and the BSc Nursing
(Oncology) in 2007-and has continued to position itself as
a major hub of academic development and advancement
for nursing and midwifery personnel in Trinidad and Tobago
and the wider Caribbean region.SANE's latest postgraduate
offering now makes it possible for graduates of the BSc
programmes to fulfill their career trajectory.
* APPLICATION PROCEDURE Online applications
continue until July 2009. For application details, please
visit http://sta.uwi.edulpostgrad.apply.asp. Entry
requirements include a BSc in Nursing or an equivalent.
Candidates with other qualifications will be considered if
they have at least 10 years experience. Applicants who do
not gain admission may reapply.
16 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 26TH APRIL, 2009
UWI CALENDAR ofEVENTS
26th-29th April 2009
The University of Guyana
The 28th Annual West Indian Literature
Conference 2009 will be held at the University
of Guyana from April 26-29, 2009 under
the title "Quiet Revolutions in West Indian
Literature and Criticism." The conference
theme for 2009 is designed to explore, among
many other things, the several developments,
preoccupations, forms or issues that may
reflect "quiet revolutions" in West Indian
literature and criticism. The conference will
also host a special panel dedicated to Guyanese
authors, Edgar Mittelholtzer, and Wilson
For further information,
please contact Al Creighton
Tel. 592- 222 -4923
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org OR
Orchestra set to bring
Classical Nostalgia to life
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th April, 2009
Bishop Anstey High School East and Trincity
College East (BATCE) Auditorium, College
The St. Augustine Chamber Orchestra (SACO)
presents The Trinidad and Tobago Youth
Philharmonic (TTYP) in"Classical Nostalgia,"
an evening of light classical music, featuring
Vivaldi's Winter Concerto and performances
by violinist Alyssa Cross. Tickets can be
purchased at a cost of $60 and $80.
For further information,
please call 676-8603, 681-9115, 784-8867
or email email@example.com
De Mass, De Gospel, De Folk
Sunday 3rd May, 2009
The Festival Arts Chorale and National Sinfonia
Orchestra present Caribbean and international
music selections with voice and live orchestra,
featuring soloists Turon Roberts-Nicholas,
Marlon De Bique and Michelle Dowrich under
the direction of Jessel Murray.
For further information,
please email the Festival Arts Chorale, UWI.
or call 743-0841 or 296-6567 or 341-5862.
Myths and Realities of
Caribbean History' Book Launch
Monday 27th April 2009
St.Michael Barbados and St. Ann's Jamaica
Dr. Basil Reid, Lecturer in Archaeology in the
Department of History will be presenting a
public lecture and launching his latest book
Myths and Realities of Caribbean History at the
following locations in the Caribbean:
April 27, 2009:
The Barbados Museum and Historical
Society, St. Ann's Gate, Garrison, St. Michael,
May 5, 2009:
Seville Great House, St. Ann. This event is
being organised by the Jamaica National
Heritage Trust as part of its Taino Day
First They Must be Children:
The Child and the Caribbean Imagination
Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd May 2009
The Department of Liberal Arts will host a
cultural studies conference entitled "First
They Must be children: The Child and the
Caribbean Imagination." Despite the iconic
status of children in Caribbean cultural practices
and spiralling concern about their social and
psychological well being, the issues surrounding
Caribbean childhood have not been given
sufficient academic attention. Sorely lacking on a
regional scale is the institutional infrastructure to
facilitate effective interventions. The conference
seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue
on the social experiences and representational
patterns related to the Caribbean child and
childhood. It invites analysis of ideological
perspectives and discursive practices in relation
to children as social and imaginative subjects;
the roles, symbolic codes and identities they
have been assigned; their acts of resistance and
transgression as cultural agents; and the multiple
meanings of their presence in traditional and
contemporary Caribbean mythologies of being
For further information,
please call (868) 662-2002
Exts 3025, 3028 or 3567.
UWI GAMES 2009
21st 28th May 2009
UWI, St. Augustine Campus
This year's UWI games will be held on the
St. Augustine Campus from Tuesday 21st to
Tuesday 29th May 2009. Over 400 athletes
from the three main campuses at St Augustine,
Mona (Jamaica) and Cave Hill (Barbados)
are expected to take part in this year's Games,
which will include track and field, football,
netball, cricket, volleyball, basketball, 6-a-
side hockey, swimming, table tennis and lawn
tennis. Most of the sporting activities will
be held at the UWI St Augustine Sport and
Physical Education Centre (SPEC). During the
weeklong Games, the SPEC will be converted
into a Recreational Village, where athletes and
supporters can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere,
music and entertainment.
For further information,
please call (868) 662-2002 Ext 3751, 2307
UWI TODAY is printed and distributed for The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, through the kind support of Trinidad Publishing Co Ltd, 22-24 St Vincent Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies.