UWI TTO A
THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES ST. AUGUSTINE CAMPUS
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER, 2010
It is a testament to the phenomenal growth of the St
Augustine Campus that the 2010 Graduation exercises
had to be conducted over three days, with two separate
ceremonies on each occasion. With 3,600 graduates
emerging from the university this year -a figure we
believe will continue to grow we know the workforce
Loving, Helping Hands
* Graduation Ceremonies
will soon begin to reflect the increase in graduate level
professionals with more skills available.
We believe that our students get a sound tertiary
level education at this institution, and we believe that
the development of the mind brings a beauty that
cannot be cosmetically applied.
This issue reflects on the graduation ceremonies
just past, featuring the honorary graduates, the
valedictorians and some of our historic graduation
moments. On our cover are some of this year's
graduates, who were so radiant, they exemplify our
assertion that knowledge is beauty.
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010 UWI TODAY 3
In the end the results were not surprising as from long before, the toss-up was
between the two Kenyans who have been the dominant forces for the last two years
in the UWI SPEC International Half-Marathon. Simon Sawe eventually took
the lead (1:07:07:1) but Alfonsi Yatich was right behind (1:08:30.6), with T&T's
Richard Jones placing third (1:08:32.8),
The race took place on October 31, with Roger Daniel, George Bovell III,
Jehue Gordon and Commonwealth Games 2010 Paralympic athlete Shanntol
Ince at the starting line for the pistol shot at 6am for one thousand runners who
registered to take off in the only traffic-free race in the region.
In photo, Simon Sawe has the pleasure of being first to enter his name on the
Values We Cherish
Every year, the university pays tribute to outstanding
individuals by conferring honorary degrees upon
them. It is a way of recognizing their accomplishments
as well as the principles and values that guide them
in their contribution and service to society. It is our
method of saluting them.
This year, the St. Augustine Campus paid
tribute to four such outstanding individuals Mr.
Doddridge Alleyne (LLD), Mr. Thomas Gatcliffe
(DSc), Mrs Diana Mahabir-Wyatt (LLD) and
Mr. Hans Hanoomansingh (LLD). Each of these
individuals comes from different professional backgrounds, but each exemplified
commitment to cause throughout their careers, as diverse as they were.
Mr. Alleyne, who sadly passed away on October 8 before the formal
conferment, was a leading figure in the public service, giving forty years of
pioneering work in many areas, including the energy sector. Mr. Gatcliffe has
been a towering figure on the business landscape and is well-known for his
penchant for creativity and innovation. Mrs. Mahabir-Wyatt has crusaded for the
rights of the vulnerable in our society particularly, women and children- and
has represented them at every possible forum. Mr. Hanoomansingh has used
the airwaves to constantly push for more cultural inclusivity in programming.
Each of these individuals is profiled in this issue of the paper, as well as our six
valedictorians, and I hope that by reading about them you will recognize in their
sterling attributes qualities that this Campus upholds, respects and cherishes.
As the premier regional tertiary education institution, the UWI St. Augustine
Campus is focused on producing leaders in all spheres. This year, we conferred
degrees on 2,679 students at the undergraduate level and 939 students at the
graduate level, including 34 doctoral degrees. A remarkable achievement indeed,
but more importantly, we do look towards our young scholars and leaders going
on, in their own way, to make outstanding contributions to national and regional
development. One of our valedictorians shared a quote by Robert E Kennedy
with her fellow graduates which I found aptly captured the spirit of determination
to be agents of change, that we would like all our graduates to take with them
as they move on: "Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of
us can work to change a small portion of events and in the total of all those acts
will be written the history of this generation"
CLEMENT K. SANKAT
Pro Vice Chancellor & Principal
I EDITAn & T &
Professor Clement Sankat
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mrs. Dawn Marie De Four-Gill
Ms. Vaneisa Baksh
The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002, exts. 2013. 2014
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I FROM THE PRINCIPAL
4 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010
'hh>o FWee4 OF CELEBRATIONS
* INTERFAITH SERVICE
"Discourse and diversity of opinion are hallmarks of the academic tradition. Good universities are committed to the thesis
that all individuals have a contribution to make to society and in addition believe that it is part of their role to ensure that
individuals from different backgrounds achieve the appropriate self-actualization. Good universities celebrate diversity
in teaching, in the composition of teachers and ensure that their company of masters and scholars represents diversity of
- UWI ( Ihi, #, II. Sir George Alleyne at the Interfaith Service held at the beginning of the week of activities celebrating the
50th Anniversary of the St Augustine Campus. The Service was held at the Daaga Auditorium on October 10.
* PRESIDENT'S RECEPTION
President of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Maxwell Richards and his wife, Jean Ramjohn-Richards hosted a
reception in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the St Augustine Campus of The UWI. In this photo, Their Excellencies
greet the Campus Principal, Prof. Clement Sankat and his wife, Dr Rohanie Maharaj.
* BOOK LAUNCH
Just before she retired, Professor of History, Bridget
Brereton, delivered a magnificent keepsake to The
University of the West Indies. Written especially to mark
the fiftieth anniversary of its St Augustine Campus,
the book, "From Imperial College to University of the
West Indies: A History of the St Augustine Campus,"
was launched on October 12 at the Central Bank
* THE GATHERING
Closing off the week of celebrations was a special
edition fete called The Gathering, which was held
on the grounds of the Campus Principal's Office on
October 17. Hundreds attended the event, which
featured entertainers like Karma with Ravi B, Roy
Cape, Gayatones and Birdsong Steel Orchestra. In
photo, University and Campus Director for Marketing
& Communications, Mrs. Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill
and her husband Dexter, were a well-matched pair at
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010 UWI TODAY 5
We4A6o F CELEBRATIONS
"At a certain scholarly remove, my work has been the subject
of some analysis, mostly "from foreign'" but almost always this
analysis has been anthropological, or sociological, not aesthetic,
"As a consequence of this situation, we as a society do not know
what art is. We certainly do not know what good art is. And we do
not know-we have not done the work to establish- what are the
critical terms of reference by which our own indigenous art forms
can be assessed. This puts our artists and our culture -a culture
that is inherently creative, and creatively participatory-- at a terrible
disadvantage. Artists cannot build on precedents if the precedents
have not been identified. Artists cannot meet standards of quality
if the standards have not been articulated.
"Now, I know little about how a university goes about setting
its curriculum and developing its academic program. But it just
seems to me that in the area of critical analysis a university can and
should have a role to play. And it also seems to me that in a small
place like an island, a university should not be an ivory tower set
apart from the rest of the community, but can and should have its
intellectual activities integrated into the cultural life of the island
I know there are programs at the university that teach art. This
is good. But I wonder if more could be done to teach not only how
to do it but what makes it good, or not. And certainly more could
be done, beyond trying to produce people who can make art, to
develop a culture of aesthetic analysis, critical rigour, to scour the
international field for the most rigorous standards and then to
incorporate these into our island experience and to develop our
own rigorous standards."
Renowned artist and thinker, PeterMinshall, one off .J, pI', i"'',i
at a discussion on "The Future of the University" on October 11, at the
Daaga Auditorium. In the photograph, Mr Minshall is greeted by UWI
( Ih.,,,, II. ,, Sir George Alleyne, who moderated the discussion.
6 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010
CARICOM SCIENCE AWARD
Professor Lincoln Hall, former Professor
of Chemistry at the St. Augustine
Campus of the University of the West
Indies and Consultant at the University
of Trinidad and Tobago was awarded
the prestigious Annual CARICOM
Science Award for his outstanding
contribution to the field of science
and in particular for his innovative
studies in Analytical/Environmental
and Inorganic Chemistry. Professor
Hall has published widely in prestigious
journals and has been a visiting scholar
to a number of universities including
the University of Chicago and Imperial
The CARICOM Science Award is
a joint effort between CARISCIENCE
S. IOM and the CARICOM Secretariat and is
meant to give recognition and visibility
0 CARI I to outstanding scientific achievements
made byindividuals from the CARICOM
countries. The past awardees including:
Dr. Raymond Wright (Jamaica), Prof
Harold Ramkissoon (Trinidad) and
g ,, , J Prof Sean Mc Dowell (Barbados).
Caribbean journalists, both practising and prospective
can now apply for the new one-year, full-time Certificate in
Journalism programme, scheduled to begin at The UWI, St
Augustine Campus, Faculty of Humanities and Education,
in January 2011.
"The assumption is that this programme is not just
going to talk about Journalism, but that learning activities
will be very experiential in their orientation," said Ms
Patricia Worrell, Programme Coordinator, speaking at the
programme launch on October 27.
Worrell explained that one highlight of the programme
would be a six-week internship with a media organisation
selected by the student and approved by the University. The
internship is designed to provide students with authentic
experiences of what it is like to work as a journalist. Interns
will also have the opportunity to learn from the practical
experiences of persons who know the challenges and the
benefits of following a career in journalism.
The Certificate in Journalism programme will be
staffed by lecturers from the UWI, as well as by experienced
media practitioners. It incorporates different approaches
to on-campus course delivery: in addition to traditional
Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat (right) speaks with Mr Ken Gordon at the launch of the Certificate in Journalism programme.
Mr Gordon, a former journalist, said the programme was long overdue.
lecture formats, students will take part in workshops where
they perform different roles and functions as writers and
editors. They will also have access to online material and
Worrell emphasised that the focus of the Certificate
programme was not limited to developing foundational and
technical competence, but included issues such as the ethical
values and legal framework undergirding the profession.
Professor Sankat described the new programme as an
example of the University's ongoing commitment to respond
effectively to the demands of the evolving Caribbean
society. The guiding philosophy of the programme, said
Professor Sankat, is an understanding of the critical role of
a competent and independent media in sustained regional
development. Professor Sankat thanked Mr Ken Gordon for
his financial support, without which, he said, the programme
launch would not have been possible.
For more information, please contact Patricia Worrell,
Programme Coordinator, atpatr;,. i n, i ll~, ;i, i'i.edu or
(868) 388 6299 or 663 1334 Ext. 3405.
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010 UWI TODAY 7
Time to put food on the table
The University of the West Indies celebrated World Food Day 2010 with a Food Fest
and a Candlelight Vigil on November 12 and 13. At the opening ceremony, the Campus Principal,
Prof Clement Sankat welcomed participants. This is an excerpt of his remarks.
As many of you know, the UWI St. Augustine Campus
celebrated its 50th anniversary last month. Our Campus was
born out of the merger of the Imperial College of Tropical
Agriculture and the University College of the West Indies in
1960. The Faculty of Agriculture was the founding Faculty
on our Campus, followed by the Faculty of Engineering.
So agriculture is a subject area that has been at the core
of our university teaching, research and scholarship from
the very beginning. One may argue that its importance and
relevance to national and regional development is even more
central today than it was fifty years ago, given the challenges
we face as small island developing states with regard to food
production, food security and our high food import bill,
natural disasters, competition for agricultural and farming
land, disease and pest control, poor rural infrastructure,
an ageing community of farmers and the lack of interest
shown by younger generations in the study and practice of
agriculture and rearing of livestock.
As a scholar and researcher myself, who is passionate
about agriculture and especially food and agricultural
engineering, I am deeply concerned by these developments.
I have said on previous occasions that I feel that just over
ten years ago, we gave up on sugar, bananas and other
estate crops without thinking about the impacts on our
countries, our communities and the livelihoods of thousands
of families, without thinking through what to do next
and putting in place a viable framework for sustainable
agricultural development and food security. But there is
nothing to be gained by lamenting the past. What we need
to do is to continue to aggressively pursue viable options
for agricultural development if we are to reduce our food
import bill, contain inflation in food prices and put our
society on a clear path towards enhanced food security for
future generations. But the benefits are so much larger the
stability and viability of our rural communities and the
improvement of the lives of our people and giving them a
sense of hope for the future. We are at an exciting juncture
in our development where our policy makers are speaking
about diversification of the economy. This is therefore a time
to put food and agriculture at the forefront.
The UWI St. Augustine Campus is committed to doing
our part by providing a supportive learning environment
for agricultural studies and research. We recently appointed
a new Director for the School of Agriculture, Dr. Chelston
Brathwaite, whom I expect will bring his vast expertise
and experience to bear on structuring and equipping our
school so that it can deliver on its promise to the agricultural
sector and in particular, to reinvigorate the programmes,
research, development, technology transfer and service
coming out of the School ofAgriculture: our Cocoa Research
Unit, our University Field Station, and our research in areas
such as hot peppers, improved cocoa varieties, legumes and
root crops, breadfruit and other tree crops, ornamentals,
wildlife and small ruminant production (including rabbits,
sheep and goats, etc.). The list is much longer!
This is where the university has been making and
can make an even greater contribution especially with the
support of the government, international institutions, the
private sector, civil society organizations, and especially our
farmers. We hope to be able to achieve even more.
Such collaborations and partnerships provide a greater
multiplier effect for our efforts and resources and are the
real manifestations of the theme "united against hunger"
as we collectively work to fight hunger, malnutrition and
poverty. None of us can do this alone.
It is only through partnerships that the value of research
and its application is realized and creative work can be seen
to improve the lives of people.
Let us not forget whom we are here to serve improving
the livelihoods of our farmers and processors, etc. must be
a top priority. Let us examine their needs and work with
them towards solutions. This is the most effective way for
I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to the
Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, Professor
Dyer Narinesingh, and his team for their dedication and
commitment to the success of this event. I would like to
thank the Minister of Food Production, Land and Marine
Affairs and officials of the Ministry for also sharing this
vision of a partnership with The UWI and other stakeholders
for progress in food and agriculture. I am also thankful to
the United Nations Development Programme, the Food
and Agricultural Organization and other organizations
represented here today for their support of the work of The
UWI St. Augustine Campus. I firmly believe that through
our research, innovation and partnerships, each of us will
help to shape policy and influence decision making for more
sustainable agricultural development and the wellbeing of
the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the region.
Hundreds attended the Food Fest at the JFK Quadrangle in November.
8 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010
Pioneer of Public Service
Doddridge Alleyne had known that The University of the West Indies had conferred upon him the degree of
Doctor of Laws, honors causa, before he passed away on October 8, just 20 days before the official ceremony.
Professor Bridget Brereton has written something of the man, whose achievements were phenomenal.
By Bridget Brereton
Doddridge Alleyne, who died on October 8, 2010, just
weeks before he was to receive an honorary degree from
UWI, St Augustine, was born in Charlotteville, Tobago, in
1927. This fishing village on the north coast of the smaller
'twin island' of the then British colony of Trinidad & Tobago
was remote and isolated at the time (and for long after),
separated by a long and difficult journey from the little
island capital, Scarborough, and almost impossibly distant
from the colonial capital, Port of Spain.
The boy went to Charlotteville Methodist School; like
many Tobagonians, he was brought up in the Methodist
church, a denomination traditionally of great influence in
the island. He went to Trinidad for his secondary education,
attending a private school in Port of Spain, where his
academic promise was recognized, and he attended Queen's
Royal College, the premier boys' school, to study for his
Higher School Certificate in the mid-1940s. Nearly sixty
years later, in 2003, he was inducted into the Queen's Royal
College Hall of Honour, a tribute bestowed on very eminent
After working in the public service for some time,
Alleyne received a Colonial Development and Welfare
scholarship which took him to the hallowed halls of Oxford
University, reading for the famous 'PPE' Philosophy,
Politics and Economics at Balliol College, acquiring the
BA and MA degrees. In 1958, he submitted to Balliol a
thesis of well over 400 pages, which has now, fifty years
later, been published. His alma mater recognized his
distinguished career in 1999 by making him an Honorary
Fellow of Balliol.
Straight out of school, the young Alleyne joined
the colonial civil service, working through the era of
decolonisation and independence, giving forty years of
selfless and distinguished service. With the assumption
of power by the People's National Movement led by Eric
Williams in 1956, and especially after independence in 1962,
he became one of a small group of dedicated public servants
who worked with the government to lay the foundations of
the modern state and economy. Their salaries were small
and their perks were few; they worked with a notoriously
mercurial leader; their hours were long and irregular, and
family life was often sacrificed to the demands of public
Alleyne was one of the most outstanding members
of this group. He rose to the top of the heap, serving
as Permanent Secretary in the three crucial Ministries:
Petroleum & Mines, Finance, Planning & Development, and
then as Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister and Head
of the Public Service. In all these positions, he was central to
remaking Trinidad & Tobago in the 1960s and 1970s, and
he worked very closely with Williams.
Alleyne was one of the founders of the nationally
owned energy sector which has done so much to shape the
modern economy. With little directly relevant training, and
few blueprints to follow, he led the 1968 negotiations which
led to the purchase of the gas stations belonging to British
Petroleum, and the subsequent creation of NP. Then with
the start of the oil boom in 1973-74, Alleyne led negotiations
The Late Doddridge Alleyne
The Late Doddridge Alleyne and Sir Ellis Clarke
for the purchase of Shell Trinidad and the creation of
TRINTOC to manage Shell's assets. After Williams' death,
he was at it again in 1985, when he participated in the
purchase of TEXACO Trinidad -- the largest oil producer
and refiner in the country and TESORO. It was entirely
fitting that during the commemoration of the centenary of
commercial oil production in Trinidad & Tobago (2009),
Alleyne was recognized as a 'Pioneering Hero' for his
work in these negotiations, and more generally, for his
efforts to bring about national control of the country's
He also led the discussions which led to the purchase
of the local branch of the Bank of London & Montreal,
and the subsequent creation of the National Commercial
Bank, owned by the government, in 1970 the forerunner
of today's First Citizens. In carrying out these complex
negotiations, and for other purposes, Alleyne travelled
the world pursuing his country's interests, often in very
Working with Williams was never easy, and Alleyne
was perhaps the most distinguished member of that
coterie of senior public servants who surrounded him,
to fall victim to his often inexplicable bouts of anger and
vindictiveness. This eminent and manifestly honourable
man, Head of the Public Service, was accused in 1975-76
of serious infractions of public service rules, interdicted
by the Public Service Commission, put on three-quarters
salary, and told to prepare for a formal hearing by a
special tribunal. When the tribunal was finally convened,
all the charges against him were suddenly dropped.
Alleyne had been exonerated and returned to work; but
Williams never spoke to him again, and he remained in
the proverbial wilderness for several years to come.
In the last year of Williams' life, he gave permission
for Alleyne to serve as a United Nations Petroleum
Adviser to the Government of Kenya (1980-82). Here
m he drew on his experiences at home in establishing the
a framework and structure of the National Oil Company of
3 Kenya. This international exposure helped to prepare him
z for the major assignment given to him (after Williams
< died) by the PNM government of George Chambers:
Sto serve as his country's Ambassador and Permanent
SRepresentative to the United Nations (1983-88). Here
g he sat on the Security Council for a term and actually
z presided over that body for brief periods in 1985 and
- 1986. He also chaired the Committee on the Arms
m Embargo against South Africa in the dying years of the
apartheid regime. As Chairman of the Committee of
T Non-Aligned Countries, he helped to craft a Resolution
on the Iraq-Iran war, which eventually led to the end of
H the conflict. His years at the UN representing his country
8 certainly marked a fitting conclusion to his career in
o the public service. No one could question his claims to
i one of the nation's highest awards, the Chaconia Medal
T (Gold), for 'long and meritorious service to Trinidad &
Doddridge Alleyne always showed a keen interest
in UWI. For several years after his retirement, he was
an Honorary Fellow at SALISES, St Augustine, and
participated in many of its activities. Fittingly, his Oxford
thesis has now been co-published by the UWI Press and
SALISES. His posthumous book, Export/Import Trends
and Economic Development in Trinidad, 1919-1939, will
be launched by SALISES on December 6.
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010 UWI TODAY 9
A Truly Fine Spirit
This is the citation for the conferral of the degree of Doctor of Science,
honors causa on Thomas Gatcliffe, delivered by the Public Orator of The UWI,
Professor Surujpaul Teelucksingh, at the graduation ceremony on October 28, 2010.
Chancellor, the Peschier family left us a rich and lasting
legacy. How difficult it would be to imagine a Port of
Spain without the Queen's Park Savannah! a generous
gift bequeathed to all the peoples of this fair land by this
illustrious family. But they left us another boon which is
no less generous nor enduring their progeny, Thomas
When the Trinidad and Tobago Business Chamber
celebrated its 127th anniversary, Mr Gatcliffe, as the guest
speaker had these words to say: "when one considers
that three out of five business ventures fail in the first five
years and few survive 50 years, it is easy to conclude that
127 years is an immense span in the life of any business
Chancellor, 127 years is indeed a long time, but what
should one say of a business that has survived 180 years,
and what should one say about one man who has served
that one organization for 60 years!
Angostura a 180-year-old organization is both a
household word and a global company. Siegert may have
been its founding father but Thomas Gatcliffe the first non-
Siegert to lead the company has been the guardian angel
of this legendary company. For beet may have beaten the
sugar out of our economies but the fine spirits that emanate
from the stills of Angostura have kept the great Caribbean
tradition of rum-making alive. Thomas Gatcliffe is one of
only a handful of people to possess the complete recipe
for the world famous Angostura Bitters and he guards this
secret jealously. And if keeping a secret is a fault then that
might be his only one, for here is a man of modest stillness
and humility and gentleness in success.
Born in British Guiana, he moved to Trinidad and
completed his secondary education at Queen's Royal
College where he would have obtained important
lessons in leadership both as Head Prefect and
Sergeant Major of the Cadet Corps. These early
lessons were to prepare him for greater leadership at
the highest levels and to prepare him for captaincy
a captain of industry.
He has chaired 11 blue chip companies
and was a board member of 15 others. He has
been President of the Caribbean Association
of Industry and Commerce, the Trinidad and
Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce
and the Swimming Association. He has been
a member of the National Advisory Council,
National Productivity Council and Tax
Performance Committee. He gave new and
renewed meaning to the term captain of
industry and his contribution to the business
sector is incomparable.
It has been said that to repeat what others have said
requires education, to challenge it requires brain, but
to change it requires tact. It was during his stint as an
independent senator in the Parliament of Trinidad and
Tobago 1971-1976 and at a time when the parliamentary
opposition was in complete disarray, he assumed the role
of a one-man crusader against an archaic taxation regime,
tactfully arguing the case for modernizing our a taxation
system. The changes that ensued led to one of the most
progressive taxation regimes in the region and positioned
our country at competitive advantage, the benefits of which
we still reap today.
It is not surprising that for all that he has contributed
to nation-building he was awarded the Chaconia Medal,
Gold for his contribution to business. When in 2007 he
was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame his citation
read in part:
"Many men go through a lifetime as good people,
without making a significant change or contribution to the
lives of those around them. Tommy is undoubtedly a good
man, but he has also improved the lives and prospects of a
great number of people, both inside Angostura and within
the country and region generally. His working life has
been one of achievement allied with humility and courtesy
which is rare in a person of his position, and the standards
of behaviour which he has set, not only for himself but for
everyone working with him, have been quite remarkable."
For all his undertakings, as many and diverse as they
have been, he has been a man geared not only for success,
but he has been a man ofvalue. In the same way that it would
be difficult to imagine Port of Spain without a Savannah,
it would be equally difficult to imagine the business-scape
without a Thomas Alexander Gatcliffe. Our University, in
recognizing him today, is living up to its pledge to honour
those amongst us who have stood tall and often silent.
It is with these thoughts in mind Chancellor, that I beg
you to receive Thomas Gatcliffe a man of modest stillness
and humility and confer upon him the degree of Doctor of
Science, honors causa.
WIN J nr ' 10 i ()
10 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010
A Golden Voice
"I wish to point out that the suppression of a people's culture, whatever the reason, cannot build a
nation, regardless of inspirational tenets in anthems and speeches on national occasions."
-Hans Hanoomansingh addressing graduating students of the Faculty of Humanities and Education
This is the citation for the conferral of the degree of Doctor
of Laws, honors causa on Hans Hanoomansingh, i h'livieI'd
by the Public Orator of The UWI, Professor Surujpaul
Teelucksingh at the graduation ceremony on October 30,
Chancellor, no one will blame you for not having any idea
of where Cunupia stands. For it is neither north nor south,
nor east nor west. It is not even central. Indeed that honour is
singularly Chaguanas, the Naipaulian town just three miles
to the south. Cunupia is neither Indian nor African. Yet for
all its undifferentiation and apparent confusion, today our
University in all its wisdom has singled out a quintessential
Cunupian for celebration: Hans Hanoomansingh, one of
Cunupia's most illustrious sons. When the air was pierced by
the shrill cry announcing his birth, there would have been
little indication of the voice that was in time to emerge.
Chancellor, it may have taken 70 million years of
evolution to create the human voice but it took Hans
Hanoomansingh two decades to perfect it. For when he
speaks it is as if melody wafts from some magical flute. But
Chancellor, a pair of gilt-coated vocal cords is an innate and
God-given gift and it would require much more to derive the
honour that is about to be bestowed upon him here today.
So what brings this Cunupian before you? It is simply
because he has led a prodigious life dedicated to journalism
in radio and television. And as journalist he was as versatile
as he was competent having worked as an announcer,
producer, editor, news analyst and as anchor of then
Trinidad and Tobago Television's flagship news programme,
"Panorama" During his illustrious career he has interviewed
hundreds of personalities, including South Africa's
indefatigable anti-apartheid warrior, Bishop Desmond Tutu
and Calcutta's angel of mercy, Mother Teresa.
He has produced, narrated and directed an enviable
list of documentaries on people including all our past
Mr. Hanoomansingh's photos of his early and later days
in the broadcast studio.
Presidents. Some use the airwaves to divide but he has used
it to build reconstructing lives of citizens and places. His
pioneering programme "From the Silver Screen" was the
most listened to programme on radio in the 1960s. He could
produce documentaries on subjects as diverse as the Sanatan
Dharma Maha Sabha and the Spiritual Baptists; Christmas
and Divali. This speaks of an ecumenism that is surprising
for one who grew up in a remote village 50 years ago.
This ecumenical spirit must have arisen very early
and from a most peculiar but highly advantageous spot.
His home lay just opposite the Hassarath Road cemetery.
This unofficious space was encircled by places of worship:
the Roman Catholic Church to the east, a Spiritual Baptist
tabernacle to the west and Mr Shoonon's home hardly
a house but a place where two to three hundred would
congregate to hear stories from the "Ramayan.' In that
village and from his perch on a front gallery, surrounded
by places of worship and overlooking the cemetery, he
would have a first-hand view to gain an invaluable lesson;
that whatever our station in life, how equal we are when
the journey ends!
Doubtlessly a consummate professional, it is his
unparalleled contribution to culture that stands him apart.
The 1990 award of a Hummingbird Gold Medal recognized
his long and meritorious service in the areas of culture and
The Divali Nagar is but a lasting legacy of his vision,
for 25 years after he first conceptualised and initiated this
endeavour, it continues to flourish and to attract tens of
thousands of participants annually to a place and a space
for cultural expression. Its impact on the cultural landscape
was recognized by Prime Minister Basdeo Panday in an
address in 2000 when he remarked: "Few gifts of greater
value have been given by a single citizen to this nation, this
region and this hemisphere, than this wondrous annual
Divali Nagar celebrations. Hans Hanoomansingh deserves
his nation's gratitude and our lasting love for the enduring
service he has given to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
One of the striking achievements of Hans Hanoomansingh's
life of service is that while he has earned wide renown as
the President of The National Council of Indian Culture,
he has been a significant crusader for multiculturalism in
His may seem simply a story of repeated triumph but
there was early tragedy when, at age 11, he lost his father.
His early years though harsh, could have been worse, were
it not for a discerning primary school teacher who spotted
his talent and encouraged him to recite on stage. It is truly
amazing that an act so casual and seemingly insignificant
could have such profound consequences. For when just
a teenager with an incomplete education and the need
to become a provider, he turned to public broadcasting,
emboldened by the confidence shown in him by this
primary school teacher. This message should not be lost
on all teachers for they hold that immense power to shape
and mould the future.
He was also to tempt fate when in 1966, at age 24, he
went into national politics and became the youngest member
of parliament in the Commonwealth. But he must have
quickly become aware of the charms and dangers of politics.
For aren't we warned that all successful political careers end
in failure? With this in mind, he quietly exited after a single
term and turned instead to promotion of local culture.
Chancellor, when you rise to honour him you are
recognizing a Cunupian who has excelled as a broadcaster,
cultural activist and businessman and who would want it to
be said, very loudly, that he will graciously accept this most
outstanding honour in the name of all single mothers like
his own and of all primary school teachers like Mr Kenneth
Phillips (RIP) who silently and often thanklessly, sow the
seeds of greatness in young citizens.
Many make a life by what they get but Hansley
Hanoomansingh has, by what he has given. And so, by
the power vested in you by the Council and Senate of our
beloved University, I invite you, Chancellor, to confer upon
one of Cunupia's favourite and most beloved sons, the degree
of Doctor of Laws, honors causa.
12 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010
The Rights We Cherish
This is the address to graduates from the Faculty of Social Sciences delivered by honorary graduand,
Mrs Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, on October 29, 2010.
I would like to begin by thanking the University for this
honour. To me, it is the greatest honour that I have ever
received or will be likely to receive in this life.
I am also gratified to have been asked to address this
gathering of new graduates. I have been to more graduation
ceremonies than I can count, including a couple of my own,
and I can't remember a single word of a single speech that
any speaker uttered in any of those ceremonies. So I don't
expect you to remember anything any of us say here today,
including what I am about to say.
So instead of making a speech, I thought, since it is,
after all, a cause for celebration, I want to pass on to you a
couple of gifts that have helped me on my way.
The first gift is a gift that reflects an aphorism from
the famous Danish Mathematician and philosopher, Piet
Here is a thought
That should make you
Whatever doesn't kill you
Makes you stronger.
That first gift is to recommend that you be not afraid
of making mistakes. You don't really learn anything much if
you get things right all the time... it is when you really mess
up and have to figure out what you did wrong, how you did
it wrongly and how to make up for it that you really start
learning about life. The more you mess up early in life and
find out how to recover from it, the better the rest of your
life is going to be.
The second gift I want to pass on is to tell you that,
whether you know it or not, and the chances are that no
one has ever told you, because most people in authority
over you will never want you to know, you have Rights.
Human Rights. Rights that can never be taken away from
you. They are yours by virtue of the fact that you were born.
They apply to all people everywhere, in school at work, at
home, or in the community, and they cannot be taken away
from you, although many people will try. If they are denied,
you can seek redress.
Even children, weak and powerless as they so often
are, have rights, although adults often deny this. The abuse
of children in this society is endemic because adults do not
respect the rights of children, not even the right of a child
to be heard in their own defence, and so they are abused
physically, sexually and emotionally. If you object to child
abuse, you are already on the way to becoming a human
rights activist. Beating children, like sexually abusing them
is a denial and abuse of human rights.
Find out what your rights are and when someone tries
to denyyou or someone else around you the exercise of those
rights, make up your mind to either accept the curtailment
or to speak up and take action. You have a choice. Only you
can truly decide to fight for your rights and for the rights of
others or to give them up.
If you do nothing when someone else's rights are being
abused, you will be creating the environment that will allow
yours to be denied and abused when the wheel turns your
way. Remember we are all only temporarily able-bodied.
What goes around comes around.
That is the important thing about the observance of
rights. If you want yours to be respected, you have to respect
the rights of others. You have to actually listen to other
people when they defend themselves against accusations,
whether they be personal and intimate or public and
organisational. It is up to you as adults to find out what your
rights are, and learn that for every right you have, you have
a corresponding responsibility.
The last gift that I have to pass on is the knowledge that
all that life is, is about relationships. Everything you strive
for is really to obtain, build and sustain relationships. If
you want a home, it is to house relationships. If you want a
career, it is to build and sustain relationships. If you want
to look good, sound wise, to be impressive in your life, it is
to build and sustain relationships. Spiritual power, financial
power, intellectual power, political power ...are all about
relationships, and at the core of successful relationships
is the observance of the rules of natural justice and the
observance of human rights.
There is no other way. And make no mistake about it,
Trinidad & Tobago, with all its faults and weaknesses is one
of the countries in the Commonwealth where the respect
and observance of human rights is greatest. The freedom of
expression that is enjoyed here over talk shows, in print and
e-mail would land people in jail in most other countries. Do
you know of another country where the Chief Justice has
been brought before the courts as well as the Leader of the
Opposition? Where Ministers of State are fined for reckless
driving and those who led a revolt against the State ended
up being given scholarships to study abroad, and returned
to head state enterprises? Where most of the Magistrates and
a substantial chunk of the Judiciary are female?
Look around you.
Sometimes we forget what we have. But we must work
hard not to lose it. Not to lose what we have through the
entropy that the Chancellor spoke about a few minutes ago,
and work hard to prevent the erosion that happens when
people abuse power. There is no other way. Ensuring the
knowledge and observance of human rights is the only way
that we can pay back the country for what it has given you
and me here today.
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010 UWI TODAY 13
Wyatt has been an
for the rights of
and the elderly for
more than three
decades. Born in
Toronto, Canada in
1941,she grew up in northern Quebec,and at the
age of 17,enrolled at McGill University in Montreal,
graduating in 1962. She has lived and worked for
most of her adult life in Trinidad and Tobago. Her
first jobs were in education, first at St. Augustine
Girls' High School and then at the Faculty of Arts
and Sciences at The University of the West Indies,
She is a human resource and industrial relations
consultant, but her public profile associates her
powerfully with social activism.
Mrs. Mahabir-Wyatt is co-founder of the
Shelter for Battered Women and Children and
the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She has
served on the boards of SERVOL and the National
Self-Help Commission. She was a founder member
of Junior Achievement and theTrinidad and Tobago
Development Foundation,and is a member of the
Caribbean Association for Feminist Research, the
National Caucus of Women and the Network of
NGOs for the Advancement of Women.
With this deep involvement in such
organizations feeding her knowledge and concern,
she wrote weekly newspaper columns for 15 years
on related subjects,and produced and presented a
12-part television series on violence against women
She continued her campaigns when she was
appointed an Independent Senatorin 1991,lobbying
over her 1 years of service for amendments to laws
relating to industrial relations, equal opportunities
for minorities,children (the Children's Authority Bill),
the DomesticViolence Act,the Sexual Offences Act,
and the Cohabitation Act.
Mrs Mahabir-Wyatt was also a founding
member of the National Insurance Board,serving as
a director from 1972 to 1985,as well as chairing its
Personnel, Public Relations and Art Committees.
She joined the Employers' Consultative
Association in 1966, three years later becoming a
director with responsibility for industrial relations
consultancy, statistical research and publication,
government relations, guidance to employers in
labour and social security legislation, and workers'
participation in management and supervisory and
management training. She served as chief executive
officer of the ECA and the Caribbean Employers'
Confederation simultaneously fora period ofaround
She was an employers'delegate from Trinidad
and Tobago tothe International Labour Organisation
Conference in Geneva for 13 years, and she also
served on an advisory committee to the Minister
of Labour and Industrial Relations.
Indefatigable campaigner, advocate and
reformist that she is, she has established the
Caribbean Centre for Human Rights, even as she
remains the managing director of PMSL Caribbean
Limited,a management consultancy firm focused on
human resource management development.
14 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER, 2010
Graduations of the Past courtesy the Main Library, West Indiana Collection
E The University College of the West Indies became
The University of the West Indies in 1962. This
was recorded as a March 1964 graduation ceremony.
Principal Dudley Huggins who took over from Sir Philip
Sherlock in 1963, with the Chancellor, HRH Princess
Alice and Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Dr
Eric Williams after the ceremony at St. Augustine. HRH
Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone and granddaughter
of Queen Victoria (1883-1981), was the first Chancellor of
The UWI, and attended all convocations until she retired
in 1971. She was succeeded by Sir Hugh Wooding.
B Philip Sherlock, Dr Eric Williams and Sir Arthur
E Dignitaries walk across the red carpet towards the
rostrum as graduating students create an aisle for
the first UWI Chancellor, HRH Princess Alice and the first
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Eric Williams,
to go by. The mace bearer leads the way.
S At the convocation ceremony for the 1965/66
graduates, the new blue gowns of the University
were worn by postgraduates for the first time.
16 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010
Go forth as Dreamers and Innovators
If you are a student with family responsibilities and a job,
you have to learn how to negotiate within the home to get
support for your programme. Things will change around
the house, and family members will feel you are neglecting
them as you juggle work and study demands.
Erle Wright, valedictorian for the Faculty of Humanities
and Education, dealt with all of those issues (and will
continue as he pursues his MEd) and has some advice for
students in similar circumstance.
"Learn to prioritize, know what is important and what
is not,' he says. "Deal with perceptions of neglect quickly,
honestly and openly. Gain the support of all members of the
family. Spend quality time with them. Talk to them about
what you are experiencing and make time to listen to them
and their problems."
Erle, who has been a teacher for more than 31 years,
has two children, Michelle and Stephen, both of whom have
graduated from The UWI, and knows what it is like to be on
the degree treadmill, both as a parent and a student. With
encouragement from his wife, Cheryl, he decided to return
to studying to reduce the lethargy induced by the empty nest,
and to "retool in order to keep abreast of modern learning
theories and approaches in education'.
At 56, he didn't find it too difficult to adapt, as he found
that the "School of Education caters to teachers' professional
development and thus age is not really an impediment to
As an educator, he has a thirst for knowledge, telling
his graduating class, "I must reject all barren conceptions
of learning. ...I do not make reference to those lifeless,
mindless, sterile, quickly forgotten ideas, hurriedly
crammed into our minds to pass exams. I am not speaking
about those notions of self-importance, which we often
imprudently and impudently arrogate to ourselves because
we surmise we now "know." He said it was about "enduring
understandings" which contribute to development. "The
education we have received should be to us a living, growing
entity because we have learned how to learn'.
With his years of experience within the education
system, Erle felt he wanted to get more involved in
"Doing the BEd was precipitated by my perception
of the sorry state of school administration and education
in Trinidad. I am not sure however, whether the BEd has
alleviated or heightened my distress over the present state of
affairs in the field of Education. It would appear the without
a fresh vision, the present policies, direction and archaic
hierarchical structures will continue to drive the education
system into the quagmire of despair'.
Erle is now pursuing the MEd with concentration in
Youth Guidance at UWI, and perhaps by the time he is
finished, there will be more optimism.
Clean, Focused Energy
Nakita Noel, valedictorian for the Faculty of Science &
Agriculture, told fellow graduands that she was sure that
theirs was "the most student-oriented faculty in the whole
During her address she looked back at the transition
to university life.
"Sometime very soon after the fun and relaxation of
orientation week was over, we were struck with the harsh
reality that this was no longer secondary school. Classes
were in full swing, and the everlasting lab sessions began.
The days of being spoon-fed in the classroom, seemed so far
gone it was almost a figment of our imagination. The library
became our close and personal friend and the stress levels
began to rise. After all, I suppose they didn't call it 'reading'
for a degree, for nothing '
Confessing that she did not feel she was in a position to
offer advice to her peers, she focused on some of their shared
experiences and tried to extract lessons from them.
"We may not yet fully comprehend the value of all the
things we have learned here, but recognize that if we do the
things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves. The
world requires a new generation of scholars who will effect
a positive change and go beyond the call of duty; we are part
of that generation. It is our responsibility to go into the world
and do our part in bringing about this change by effectively
applying our skill sets, making not only ourselves, but our
families and our University proud" was her conclusion.
Nakita, who was awarded a BSc Major in Physics and
Chemistry degree with First Class Honours, intends to
have a PhD within four years. It would require a lot of the
dedication and prioritizing skills she learned while doing
her first degree, as she thought the most challenging aspect
was coping with the workload.
"To be honest, it seemed fairly overwhelming at times,
which may be due in part to the fact that I was always
picking up extra Environmental Physics courses. Some
weeks I would have three lab reports due in addition to
tutorials and coursework exams. I think the only thing that
got me through the stress was that I genuinely loved what
I was doing."
She was never daunted by people saying things were
"It has been my experience that the people who tell
you that courses or subjects are hard and that the failure
rate is very high or the material is impossible to cover; are
often people who aren't particularly good at handling that
particular subject matter. That in no way means that you
will not be excellent at it."
Nakita is now doing an MPhil in Chemistry, in pursuit
of an ideal to help produce clean energy.
"Solar energy is currently the most promising source
of renewable energy, having the potential to satisfy the long
term energy demands of the growing global population.
The main reason why it is not more widely used is that it
is very expensive. The cost per kilowatt-hour is still quite
high, mainly due to inefficiencies of current solar cell
technologies. Finding some way to increase the efficiency
of the technology would bring about a corresponding
decrease in its cost, making solar energy more economically
feasible for widespread use by the general public. I am
currently working on developing novel quantum dots,
semiconducting nanocrystals, which I hope would succeed
in increasing solar cell efficiency"'
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010 UWI TODAY 17
1C AJ nI itUi)
Touched by Threads
N I C H
S E E M U N
Nicholas Seemungal, one of the two valedictorians for the
Faculty of Social Sciences themed his address on building
relationships, not simply in the sense of networks that
further professional advancement, but links that help to
foster greater understanding.
He identified tangible gifts of their UWI experience
(degrees, diplomas, certificates and expertise in their fields)
and the greater, intangible gifts: "the art of expression
through writing, the nature of critical thinking and the
dance of group project dynamics" and maturity, lasting
relationships and a great network.
"Were I to illustrate it visually, I would see it as a thread
of energy linking me to the graduand seated first, and
continuing to the last. The thread would have been here
when we arrived, a connection left by those who assembled
yesterday, as we will leave a connection for those who will
congregate here tomorrow. The distinctive nature of the
thread analogy is that we are all connected to one another"'
he said to graduands.
He urged them to be mindful that the impressions they
make on people would be of substantial benefit as they take
their places in the world.
"To build a network of true majesty is a journey that
requires a lifetime', he said. Nicholas concluded his speech
by thanking those who had begun building the university
threads and those who kept the connections: lecturers,
academics, administrative staff, families and friends.
Nicholas was awarded the BSc Management Studies
(Major) degree with First Class Honours and feels that with
his solid base he would like to go abroad to do an MBA.
Like all of the six valedictorians, the greatest challenge of
his programme was working with others on group projects.
Some found it distressing when others did not pull their
weight; all agreed that having to do it taught them important
lessons in teamwork.
"A diverse group pulling together as a unit to complete
a task can be rather daunting. Historically I've been more
of a silent follower but pretty early on I ended up in
leadership roles, and I decided to stick with it. The only
greater challenge than working with such a diverse group,
is in helping lead one," was his response.
Like all the valedictorians, he also feels that it is best to
find something one loves and pursue that as a profession or
it becomes never-ending drudgery.
His advice to students is that they forge strong bonds
with their lecturers. "As a budding professional trying to
educate oneself, forging strong ties with lecturers can prove
a huge boon; this goes beyond post-graduation references.
Even during your programme you can learn a lot that would
never come up in class just by getting to the point where
you can approach and freely speak to them. I've received
considerable advice and guidance on general development
issues and even on projects from other courses. How many
students ever do that? Not enough I'd reckon'.
Love What You Do
Robert Shirley, valedictorian for the Faculties of Engineering
and Law, told his graduating colleagues that he had done
a little survey of their feelings about their Engineering
degree programme and they were unanimous that it was
stressful, but they were equally unanimous that they would
do it again.
The most important quality imprinted on them by the
programme, he said, was endurance.
"Throughout our time here there were obstacles. But
we pushed on through. And we are here because we carried
on. My encouragement to you is that when you meet more
problems, to face them head on and grapple with them until
you accomplish everything that you have set out to achieve,
my encouragement to all of us is to strive on. Many of us are
currently searching for jobs and are becoming dismayed.
But even in disappointment let us not lose heart. As one
wise man once said, 'If opportunity doesn't come knocking,
build a door" were his words of advice.
Robert, who was awarded the BSc (Eng.) Chemical
and Process Engineering degree with First Class Honours,
would like to become involved in management while still
using his technical skills as an engineer. He plans to move
on to a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering.
Already he is getting the kind of experience he needs
at PCS Nitrogen, where he has been working as a chemical
engineer for a few months and applying the principles he
learned to practical matters.
"It is a completely different thing when you study how
heat exchangers works as compared to physically seeing
an exchanger wide open and figuring out why it's not
performing as it should," he said.
For those curious as to what his job entails, he collects
and analyses data to monitor the plant's performance;
identifies reasons and solutions for problems that occur
throughout the plant, and he identifies and implements
means of improving the plant's efficiency either by increasing
production or by reducing the energy consumption.
Managing has been easier because of the lessons he
learned at UWI, especially in terms of time management
"My degree often involved working in all different kinds
of groups. I learnt to find each member's strengths and to
allow him or her to do what he/she does best. I recognized
that it is important to trust and be willing to depend on
others to do their own job and that it is better to motivate
them rather than take away their responsibility if it doesn't
get done the first time."
One profound lesson to him was learning to trust in
"In a large institution with large classes, it can be very
easy to do what everyone else is doing. It can be easy to
study from the same books in the same way that they do,
organize your time the way they do or to do projects in the
same way that they have always been done. I used note-
taking and study techniques that were most effective for me,
I kept a very open mind when starting projects or solving
problems, I boldly asked for assistance/clarification when I
needed it once it was appropriate to do so and I associated
with people who were also open minded and who were as
determined as I was in achieving my goals."
His advice to students? Love what you study.
18 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010
J r 14 t P -y )
S A H A D E
Priya Sahadeo, valedictorian for the Faculty of Medical
Sciences, had been working for two months by the time
she addressed her graduating class and brought her new
experiences and insights to offer her comrades.
"I see people come in every day, distraught with their
pain, and even after having sought medical care, they still
feel as though there is nowhere to turn to they still feel
dissatisfied. These are the people who have interacted with
every one of us, and my colleagues, they have expectations.
People want us to listen; people want us to pay attention to
them, to treat them as priority. We are professionals and we
must accept the responsibilities that come with the path we
As she reminded them of the nobility of the medical
profession, she urged them to keep a balance of "heart and
"We must cultivate compassion and empathy within
ourselves, and endeavour to maintain those virtues
throughout our lives, for far too often, the trials of our daily
routines makes us immune to human suffering. We are all
members of what I like to call the 'Compassions Sector.' We
care, yes, but what exactly does it mean to care?"
Priya, who was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in
Pharmacy with First Class Honours, had earlier described
her passion for clinical pharmacy in an institutional
"I aspire to be part of the healthcare team alongside
doctors, offering professional advice, and tailoring therapy
and medication regimens based on each patient's specific
medical conditions and needs, in order to effect the best
possible outcome. To best equip myself, I would like
to pursue a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) which is a
professional doctorate degree and then do my PhD in a
Priya has always been fascinated with pharmacology, "I
would read every bit of information available to me about a
drug before its administration. Then, I would marvel at the
'magic' of that pill I just took and its elusive mystery would
only fuel my inquisitive nature."
Whether it was her passion for reading ("My mother
always told me that since I was a very small child I liked
books...she even has a picture of me at the age of two
walking around ever so proudly in the yard with a book
that I obviously could not read'.) or a specific fascination
with the magic of medicine, Priya found herself increasingly
enamoured of the world of pharmacy studies.
Despite this, she believes that it is people and building
good relationships that make sense of all we do.
"University for me was more than just a forum for
academia. I devoted my time and energy to student
organizations, committing myself to the Trinidad and
Tobago Organisation of Pharmacy Students as the Public
Relations Officer. With this experience came the opportunity
to work alongside various noble charities. I have also taken
an active role in my community via the Las Lomas #2
Women's Group which seeks to foster the development of
individuals within the community via various projects and
events'. At The UWI, she also did a Certificate in Interior
Decorating and a Leadership and Service extra-curricular
"I have found that when you love what you do, the word
'work' just does not seem right," she says.
An Instrument of Change
Vandana Siew Sankar, one of two valedictorians for the
2010 graduating class of the Faculty of Social Sciences, says
she wanted to do a BSc in Psychology because, "I wanted to
understand people and why they do the things they do, and
I wanted to understand myself."
It is the kind of broad response that only intrigues
the questioner. She'd done English Literature, French and
Economics at CAPE, something a little more specific must
have been acting on her. Pressed, she reveals that her parents
had both worked in different capacities at mental health
institutions her mother Leela was a secretary and her
deceased father, Harold had been a nurse. Ever since she was
very young, she believed she was adept at sussing out people
quickly. She felt she was highly intuitive, and her interaction
with others reinforced that feeling, and coupled with her
exposure to the world of mental health, she felt psychology
might be a good professional choice.
She graduated with first class honours and has already
begun her MSc in Clinical Psychology at the Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
Vandana has decided to modify her approach to her
Master's degree though. This time around, she plans to find
a little more of that balance between study and leisure (the
S I E W
balance she has counselled so many others to seek) and to
give herself a little more breathing space.
"I've always been convinced that you should do what
you feel passionate about," she says, but she also knows that
her passions have made her a very driven individual. She is
the kind of person who combined her studies with a range
of community and religious activities. She thinks that she
might have overdone it a bit, forgotten how restorative it
can be to just relax.
She wants to change the world, she's ambitious and has
always been a go-getter. Maybe it is connected to the fact that
her father died unexpectedly of a heart attack when she was
just 12, and as an only child she felt a push to responsibility.
Her vivacity, she says, come from her "passion for life and
hunger for success,' but although that has not diminished,
she is ready for an "attitudinal change'
"I've decided not to pressure myself to excel at a certain
level... I am going to excel, but I was driven by musts and
oughts, and those things will drive you insane. I have to
learn how to take care of the carer'
Vandana says she does not feel her school days were as
happy as they could have been because she was so driven.
She didn't give enough time and care to friendships and
she regrets that. "My life can only be meaningful if there
are people to share it with. I need to enjoy the journey, and
that's what the Bachelor's taught me."
As she stood before her graduating class, her parting
advice was "visualize what you want for the world, and use
yourself as an instrument for achieving that change, even
if you do so, one person at a time'.
20 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER, 2010
Dr Judith Gobin, UWI lecturer (Marine Biology) was one of only 400 international delegates invited to attend the historic "The Census ofMarine
Life's A Decade of Discovery Celebration". This event was recently held (4th to 7th October) in London at the Royal Institute, the Royal Society
and the Natural History museum where senior scientists gathered to share their results and to consider their implications.
In one of the largest scientific collaborations ever
conducted, more than 2,700 Census scientists from more
than 80 nations spent over 9,000 days at sea, on more than
540 expeditions, plus countless days in labs and archives.
Dr. Judith Gobin was one of these scientists (now known
as the Census community) who contributed to this project
and which culminated in an exciting celebration, as they
presented to the world- the most up to date information
on the numbers of species in the oceans.
The idea of such a census was born in the late 1990s
when leading marine scientists shared their concerns
that our understanding of what lives in the oceans was
really quite inadequate. A Census of Marine Life (CoML
http://www.coml.org/) was proposed (and began in the
year 2000), the aim of which was to assess and explain the
diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life. The
census was organized around three questions: What did live
in the oceans? What does live in the oceans? What will live
in the oceans? The census community agreed to report on
findings in the year 2010.
1. A close-up photograph of the sea cucumber Enypniastes caught at 2,750
metres on the continental margin in the Celebes Sea between Indonesia
and the Philippines reveals its mud-filled intestine through its transparent
body. Image: Laurence P. Madin
* RESEARCH KEY FACTS
You can find some of the key facts revealed by
this timely census here: (http://origin.coml.
* Estimated number
of species in the oceans:
* Species formally
described in science
* Species listed to date
in World Register of
Marine Species (WoRMS):
* Species described
since 2000 worldwide: ~
* Species described by
Census scientists from
* Estimated new
species collected during
the Census but not yet
* Estimated percentage
of species not yet
described by scientists:
Europe: 10%; South
Africa 38%; Antarctica:
39 to 58%; Japan 70%;
75%; Australia 80%
* Species with pages
in the Encyclopedia of
Life with vetted content:
* Species with DNA
barcodes for their
2. Pholadomya candida, the only remaining species of a genus of deep-
water clams that flourished worldwide for more than 100 million years and
were thought during the 1800s to have vanished long ago.
Image: Juan Manuel Diaz.
The following projects were carried out within the
Census (adapted from http://www.coml.org/Highlights-
The Natural Geography in Shore Areas (NAGISA)
project which "initiated the first global nearshore
biodiversity inventory, sampling in seagrass beds and
rocky shore communities using a standardized protocol to
establish baseline information and long-term monitoring
of nearshore sites. The project discovered new species and
recorded species and habitats where they had not been
It was on this rocky shore project that Dr. Gobin worked
with the regional group (Caribbean and South America)
led by senior scientist Dr. Patricia Miloslavich of Simon
Bolivar University in Venezuela.
3. Species thought to be extinct have been rediscovered. For example,
Census scientists found a Jurassic shrimp, Neoglyphea neocaledonica
thought to have become extinct 50 million years ago, and they also
encountered a living Caribbean fossil. Image: Bertrand Richer de Forges
and Joelle Lai.
Dr. Gobin acknowledges with thanks, the Census of Marine Life (CoML)for permission to reproduce this information.
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2010 UWI TODAY 21
ROCKY SHORE SPECIES DIVERSITY
A typical field sampling day starts at the crack of
dawn packing gear for snorkeling, scuba diving and
sampling (like quadrats, forceps, YSI meters (to measure
pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, etc.), plastic containers,
alcohol for preserving specimens, camera, GPS, notepads,
Leaving the University, the team (me and at least three
assistants) endures the pleasant but long drive to Salybia,
Toco. The time of departure is based on the low tide chart
and we often need to be there by 7am which means starting
off at around 5am. This invariably includes stoppage time
for doubles or aloo pies along the way.
Once there, the sampling gear comes out. Everyone
knows his or her job and we are all prepared to get wet.
(In this photograph, three research assistants are sampling
the quadrats (eg. 1m x 1m).) They are using prepared data
sheets to fill in data such as: % cover for different species,
numbers of species, species names, etc. Depending on
the measurements or observations we need to make,
the sampling may be extractive (where we actually take
specimens away). These samples will be for taxonomic
identification and/or verifications, and weights (these values
may be used to determine productivity). Photographs of
all quadrats are taken and the GPS location is noted; with
all data compiled before leaving the field. After a hard
(and long) day on the coast, the job is far from complete.
Back at the laboratory, all specimens (plant and animal)
must be prepared or preserved for future measurements
and examinations, weights noted, etc. At a later date the
specimens will be identified and catalogued and eventually
placed in the Department's museum.
INVASIVE/ALIEN SPECIES PROJECT
Invasive/alien species (those that do not naturally
belong to an area) pose serious threats to all marine and
coastal environments. Marine vessels (ranging from oil
and gas tankers to recreational yachts) continuously bring
such aliens to Trinidad and Tobago and this may have
considerable negative impacts on our ecosystems. Alien
species are known worldwide to compete for resources
(food, light, oxygen, space) and their survival and success
cause disruptions in the overall ecosystem structure (such
as relationships between organisms). Here in Trinidad and
Tobago, two well-known marine invasives are the green
mussel (Perna viridis) which was possibly introduced
attached to ships (or in ballast waters) and the tilapia fish
SAMPLING QUADRATS: Three research assistants sample the quadrats.
(Tilapia mossambica) which was released accidentally from
Our team surveyed (and sampled) approximately 32
recreational vessels arriving at two marinas (Peakes and
Power Boats) in Chaguaramas. These vessels originated in
countries such as Australia, France, the USA, Ireland, etc. As
the vessels were hauled onto dry dock, the team was allowed
to scrape areas of the hulls (removing attached fauna and
flora), take photographs and interview the boat's custodian.
The structured interview contributed information on the
make of boat, origin and itinerary (including port stops)
of the vessel including cleaning activities.
All samples were placed in plastic bags and preserved
in the field. The photograph below shows the variety of
faunal species which were attached to some of these vessels.
They include barnacles, mussels, worms, arthropods and
crustaceans, algae, sponges, soft corals, bryozoans etc. A
complete data set (including determination of alien species)
is being compiled. To date results suggest that alien species
coming to our waters from Australia, France, the United
Kingdom, Spain, etc. are indeed using marine vessels as a
pathway, hitching a ride.
Field sampling in the marine environment (the
rocky shore as above) is very important for us to acquire
knowledge about our tropical environments. It provides us
with data and knowledge on: biological diversity (which
we are still updating, eg. the CoML program), organisms
and their interactions (eg. species interactions) and good
baseline information. Such baseline information becomes
extremely useful when there are episodic events such as the
recent massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). For
example, the impacts of oil pollution on proximal GoM
rocky shores could be determined by comparison of data
from a "pre-spill" survey with that of a "post-spill" data set.
Additionally, data from the Invasive species project will
assist Trinidad and Tobago in better understanding the
impacts of invasive species on local ecology and with the
development of a management strategy.
SPECIES ON BOATS: The variety of faunal species which were attached to some of the vessels.
LOOKING FOR ALIENS
AND OTHER SPECIES
22 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010
* From Imperial College
to University of the West
Indies: A History of the St.
Professor Bridget Brereton
As part of its 50th anniversary
celebrations, the St Augustine
campus of The UWI
commissioned its illustrious
Professor of History (who has
now retired) Bridget Brereton
to document the life of this
campus. Her book, "From
Imperial College to University
of the West Indies: A History
of the St. Augustine Campus,
Trinidad and Tobago," was
launched in October at the
Central Bank Auditorium.
Professor Bridget Brereton signs a copy of her book, "From Imperial College
to University of the West Indies: A History of the St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad
and Tobago," for Angella Persad, first female President of the T&T Chamber of
Industry & Commerce, and a member of the Board of Directors, Arthur Lok Jack
GSB, while the Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat looks on.
This book was co-
published by the
UWI Press and
SALISES, and will be
launched by SALISES
on December 6. The
the Oxford thesis of
who passed away on
October 8, is described
as being as relevant
today as it was when
it was submitted to
Balliol College in 1958.
to a call: Speeches
Reverend Cyril Paul
Chaplain to UWI,
Rev. Cyril Paul is a
retired pastor of the
and, in the tradition
of clergymen, has
published his thought-
His courageous stance
appeals to democratic
view the state of
modern society with
dismay and despair.
This sombre book will
comfort those seeking
solace in a troubled
world. (Sally Radford)
* Indian Caribbean Folklore Spirits
Kumar Mahabir, Illustrations byAneesa Khan
This book provides details of the presence of a brood
of spirits believed to roam the Caribbean since the
abolition of slavery. This compilation identifies some
of these supernatural beings, such as the raa-khas a
deformed, demonic newborn child, the chu-rile a spirit
of a deceased pregnant woman, the saap-in a woman
who transforms into a snake, Dee Baba a mythical
protector of the house and land, and the jinn, Sheik
Sadiq a spirit who can be captured in a bottle to grant
wishes. Written for readers of all ages, every page of the
five stories is illustrated.
Wa z aaBr
.tli fli x C/
* The Griot's Tale
In this atavistic historical novel set
in the heyday of the British Empire,
grand universal themes frame the
lives of rich and poor, powerful
and weak. Ramdin weaves an
oriental carpet of one hundred and
one adventures of five generations
spanning five continents and two
oceans. Through work and pleasure,
spirituality and materialism, they
experience love and hatred, good and
evil, crime and justice, tolerance and
bigotry, joy and sorrow, hope and
fear, inclusion and discrimination.
* Dudley Huggins:
Memoir of a West Indian's Journey
Anne Huggins Leaver
This is an account by the daughter of a
former principal of the St. Augustine
Campus of The University of the West
Indies, Dudley Huggins (1963-1969).
Spanning a period of roughly one
hundred years, it traces his life from his
birth in Nevis, to his stay in Jamaica,
where he was head of ISER, and his
time at the St. Augustine Campus. It
was originally meant to be a family
story written for her English children
and grandchildren, but somehow
evolved into a story of the making of
the West Indies.
* God's Servant from India
Dr. Elisha Tikasingh
Dr Elisha Tikasingh scientist and
former lecturer at UWI, has compiled
an affectionate biography of his father
Butler, an Indian Christian, press-
ganged as a schoolboy for indenture
on Buen Intento sugar estate. This
fascinating narrative follows the
Tikasingh lineage from the crossing of
two oceans on the S. S. Clyde, through
hardships and education as a catechist
in the Presbyterian mission. His
children enjoyed academic success
and prosperity in modern Trinidad.
This beautifully illustrated volume is
a blueprint for other Asian families
to research their ancestry in the
subcontinent. As ethanol from sugar
becomes an ethical commodity to
combat global warning, these families
can take pride in their achievement in
the New World. (Sally Radford)
All books are imiii labi/ at 7he UWIBookshop, except for Response to a Call: Speeches 1979-2006, God's Servant from India, and Dudley Huggins: Memoir of a West Indian's Journey
SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010 UWI TODAY 23
Have you ever snapped at your spouse
after having a rough day at work, and then
wondered whether you could have stopped
yourself from doing so? If you are having
a good day, does your significant other's
annoying habit seem less annoying? Emotions
play an important role in our everyday lives.
If we are upset or if we are happy, it influences
the way we interact with others, the way we
behave, and what we think.
Mrs. Sideeka Ali, a graduate student at
The UWI, St. Augustine Campus, is pursuing
an MPhil in Developmental Psychology
under the supervision of Dr. Nicole Albada.
Her research focuses on how emotions affect
romantic relationships. Participants in the
research are asked to fill out questionnaires
about themselves, their emotions, and their
relationship, as well as to think back on
emotional experiences with their spouse or
significant other. It takes approximately one
hour and fifteen minutes to complete and all
information is completely confidential.
Data collection has just begun and
continues until December 21st, but Mrs.
Ali still needs research participants. All
individuals participating in the research
will receive a stipend of TT$100 for their
time. Interested individuals must be over
the age of 18. Mrs. Ali is particularly
interested in participants who have been
in marriages or romantic relationships for
a long time, as much can be learned about
emotion and relationships from these long-
term commitments. Thus, individuals over
60 are especially encouraged to apply. It is
also required that interested participants
are in a committed romantic relationship
for more than two years OR they must be
If you are interested in participating
in Mrs. Ali's research, you can contact her
at the following: email@example.com
or you can leave a voicemail message at
662-2002 ext. 2401. Please consider taking
the time to participate in this research.
3 NEW PROFESSORS
Three Senior Lecturers at The
UWI, St Augustine Campus
have been promoted to the rank
On October 13th, 2010,
the University Appointments
Committee endorsed the
nomination of Doctors
Dave Chadee, Hariharan
Seetharaman and June George
to the rank of Professor. Professor Hariharan Seetharaman
"We congratulate Doctors
Chadee, Seetharaman and
George, and we extend best
wishes for their continued
success, as they seek to promote i
good scholarship at The
University of the West Indies,
St Augustine Campus,"' said Mr
C. William Iton, University
Registrar and Director of
Dr Chadee is a Senior Professor June George
Lecturer in the Department of
Life Sciences, Faculty of Science
and Agriculture. Dr Hariharan
Seetharaman is a Senior Lecturer
in the Anaesthesia and Intensive
Care Unit of the Department
of Clinical Surgical Sciences,
Faculty of Medical Sciences. Dr
George is a Senior Lecturer in
the School of Education, Faculty
of Humanities and Education. Professor Dave Chadee
24 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER. 2010
UWI CALENDAR ofEVENTS
DECEMBER 2010 MARCH 2011
Tuesday 7 Decembei,
Z 2010 at 6pml
Centie foi Language
UWI St Augustilne
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A CEREMONY OF CAROLS
Saturday 4 & Sunday 12 Decembel, 2010
Daaga Audlto lum,nUWI, St AuiCusttine, T inidad
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SALISES BOOK LAUNCH
Monday 6 Decembei, 2010
Office of the Camplus Pi Incipal, UWI St Autgtstine
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Sunday 6 Febi uiaiy, 2011
Grounds of the Offce of the Calmpius Pi Incp)al,
UWI St Augustine
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UWI TODAY WANTS
TO HEAR FROM YOU
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WORLD OF WORK (WOW) 2011
26 Janiuaiy-18 Malch, 2011
UWI St Augustine
I 1--1 l I h 1 1J 'Ll I I .-I I h 'I I I I l, A I l j l~ I I LI
L TWI [lie v AIiI l "(idoj1LT\'Vi. ) and
Republic Bank Lid.
WOW 2011 SCHEDULE
* WVO\\F R[GISTRATI10N
* \VOW INTERVIEW PREPARATION
SEN I Ai
* \~VOW~ S[NIINAR
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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.