The Eric Williams Memorial
P.O. Box 561631* Miami, Fl 33256-1631* USA Tel: 305-271-7246 Cell: 305-905-9999 Fax: 305-271-4160
Eric Williams 'School Bags' Essay Competition
Awards Ceremony Hails Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago Winners
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (August 16, 2010) The media was out in full force at The
University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, to cover the Media Contact:
th Erica Williams Connell
August 13h Awards Ceremony of the biennial Eric Williams 305-905-9999
'School Bags' Essay Competition, whose topic this year was "The email@example.com
Cuban Revolution, 1959-2009: Discuss its successes and failures. What relevance do these have for
The event was hosted by UWI's Campus Principal, Clement Sankat, and Jamaica's High
Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Sharon Saunders.
Organised by The Eric Williams Memorial Collection (EWMC), the contest is open to all final-
year Sixth Formers in 178 schools, 17 Caribbean countries. This year's Competition, inaugurated in 2007,
witnessed a 40% increase in participation, and several countries such as Guyana and Barbados not
previously represented sent in entries. First prize winner, among several essays received from her
country, is Yunique Shannakay Francis of Holy Childhood School, Jamaica. Topping the Trinidad and
Tobago compositions are: second place, Sharifa Ammon, Bishop Anstey's School (POS); and third,
Andrew Ali of Hillview College. Submissions were also received from Grenada, Guyana and Barbados.
The judges were: Dr. Franklin Knight, Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History, The
Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Colin Palmer, Dodge Professor of History, Princeton University; and Dr.
Rita Pemberton, Head, UWI St. Augustine Department of History.
The reviewers were pleased with the depth of understanding displayed by the awardees whose
submissions were of an exceptionally high quality well researched, well written and persuasively argued.
They were particularly interested in determining whether the students could provide a balanced
assessment of a highly controversial event in the Caribbean's history. They need not have worried. As
- more -
Yunique Francis queried: "What are the implications of the Revolutionfor students like me?
Because of its internationalist nature, several Jamaicans, who could not have realized their dreams
i itll, it them, have received scholarships to study medicine in Cuba, returning home to provide care to
disadvantaged Jamaicans at public hospitals. Sharifa Ammon's take on the subject was equally clear:
"Lessons in perseverance, resilience, self-sufficiency and solidarity can also be learned. And, in
addressing some of the failures of the 50-year-old Revolution, Andrew Ali paid special attention to what
he characterized as Cuba's political oppression of its people and its diplomatic 'pariah' status.
Patrons of the Essay Competition are: A & B Book Distributors; Banwari Tours; Calaloux
Publications; Caribbean Airlines, Ltd.; CARICOM; Digicel, Trinidad & Tobago, Ltd.; Encyclopedia of the
Caribbean Professor John Garrigus; High Commission, Jamaica; IOKTS Productions; Journal of African
American History; Kelly Services Customs Brokerage, Ltd.; LIAT (1974), Ltd.; Majority Press; Markus
Wiener Publishers; Miami-Dade County Public Schools; The Miami Herald Newspaper; The University
of the West Indies; Trinidad Hilton Hotel; UNESCO: British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Guyana,
Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago; Yorke Structures, Ltd.
Prizes include: a four-day trip for two to Trinidad and Tobago with airfare, hotel accommodations
and two meals daily; a laptop computer; various tours; US $1,500 in educational vouchers; courtesy calls
on the President of Trinidad and Tobago and the Speaker of the House of Representatives; a set of Eric
Williams' books; and a framed certificate. The winning essay will be published in the Miami Herald's
online edition, and CARICOM's and UWI's (three campus) newsletters.
Scholar-statesman Eric Williams led the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for a quarter century
until his death in 1981. Paying special attention to learning, "to educate is to emancipate", on August 30,
1962, the eve of his country's Independence from Britain, he exhorted:
"You, the children, yours is the great responsibility to educate your parents...you carry
the future of [the Nation] in your school bags."
He would have been immensely proud of the intellectual calibre displayed in this Competition that
bears his name, which bodes exceedingly well for the region's future.
The Eric Williams Memorial Collection at The University of the West Indies in Trinidad and
Tobago comprises the Research Library, Archives and Museum of Eric Williams. It was inaugurated by
former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in 1998, and named to UNECSO's prestigious Memory of the
World Register in 1999.