THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES ST. AUGUSTINE CAMPUS
SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009
This State of
Man Crab, the Peter Minshall king
from his 1983 presentation, River,
portended the dread aspects of the
misuse of technology. The metallic
costume, portrayed by Peter Samuel,
arrived on the Carnival stage like a
dread oracle, bearing a pristine white
square of cloth that stunningly became
drenched with scarlet, symbolic of the
lifeblood that was being squeezed out
of nature and humanity.
Forty-seven years after Independence,
Trinidad and Tobago, locked in its
bloody pincers, is gasping for air, and the
national flag might well be more truly
depicted by the Man Crab canopy.
"We are now living fully in the age of
Man Crab," says Minshall, as his grim
prophecy has come to pass.
On the centrespread, psychiatrist
Gerard Hutchinson offers a sociological
perspective on why the society finds
itself in this bloody mess.
* A novel, unpredictable mix
IN THE ARTS 15
* High fives and sixes for UWI!
Orientation eek is on!
Orientation Week is on!
SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009 UWI TODAY 3
TOURISM AND TRUST
Oscar Prieto, CEO of Atlantic LNG, another of the conference's sponsors, spoke at the opening.
Given the extensive range of the
leatherback turtle and Trinidad and
Tobago's unique role in providing some
of the most important nesting habitats
for the species in the Atlantic Ocean, the
fate of this endangered species is heavily
influenced by management of the nesting
Responsibility for this nesting colony
is the responsibility of the Government
of Trinidad and Tobago's Department
of Forestry (Wildlife Section) and the
Turtle Village Trust (TVT) is one of four
community-based organizations involved
The Minister of Tourism, Joseph Ross,
spoke at an international conference,
'Turtle Conservation, Ecotourism and
Sustainable Community Development'
hosted by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute
of Social & Economic Studies (SALISES)
at The UWI at the end of July. He told
participants that the Tourism Ministry has
partnered with the TVT "in positioning
Trinidad and Tobago as the premier turtle
tourism destination globally"
He hoped that the conference would
"provide a blueprint for a sound ecotourism
policy" for the nation, "where the demands
of tourists can be balanced with the needs
and cultural traditions of local people, the
landscape and environment."
President of BHP Billiton Trinidad
and Tobago, Vincent Pereira, said that as
a sponsor of the conference, his company's
"close relationship" with communities like
Toco, Grande Riviere, Matura and Fishing
Pond, gave them a "more detailed insight
into the need for protective action."
"We are aware of the many dangers
that face the sea turtle population if
conservation efforts are not effectively
instituted," he said.
The conference was meant to help
develop a network of sector interest working
groups and to expand and empower them
in the thrust for sustainable community
development. It was also designed to bring
academics and communities together to
work more relevantly towards this end.
Speakers focused on diverse areas such
as "The Effects of Seasonal Beach Dynamics
on the nests of Dermochelys Coriacea at
Matura and Grande Riviere" (Alana Kezia
Joseph and Paul Shaw), A Clear and
Present Danger to the Caribbean: Climate
Change or Climate Alarmism? (Reynold
Stone), and "Neo-tropical Animals and
Agro-Tourism: A Trinidad and Tobago
Opportunity" (Dr Gary Garcia).
Discussions also focused on Trinidad
and Tobago's draft National Tourism Policy
and draft National Ecotourism Policy.
Many organizations have designed Employee Assistance
Programmes (EAPs) to respond to difficulties faced by staff,
particularly those that have a negative effect on professional
performance. At The University of the West Indies (UWI), we
have a fairly broad EAP that offers counselling, therapy and
information on many of the problems people face daily.
We recognize that the challenges of modern life can cause
a high level of pressure. Studies have shown that this, combined
with an unhealthy lifestyle, contributes to a high incidence
of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and
During the CARICOM Summit on Chronic Non-
communicable Diseases in 2007, these diseases were cited as
the leading cause of premature mortality in Latin America
and the Caribbean. Given the implication of such alarming
statistics for human and financial resources in terms of the
productive capacity and overall development of Caribbean
countries, implementing proactive strategies to reverse this
trend must be a priority.
We are indeed mindful of our responsibility as a large
employer, and The UWI St Augustine Campus has introduced
a Wellness component to our EAP In the middle of August,
we launched the new Employee Assistance and Wellness
Programme (EAWP) with a Wellness Fair on the Campus,
blending information and services with a series of enjoyable
This new EAWP is designed to offer services that will help
alleviate ailments engendered by stress and lifestyle patterns,
so that our assistance to employees comes not only in times of
crisis, but through continuous support and preventative care.
The EAWP will focus on areas such as proper nutrition-by
monitoring the food offered on the St Augustine Campus to
ensure that it promotes healthy choices-and physical and
sporting activity, which will be encouraged through a gym
programme, seminars, clinic screenings, fairs and other
activities. Enhancing related amenities, including the lighting
of our grounds, is a work in progress.
We believe that good health is central to optimal
performance and productivity. Maintaining a healthy work-
life balance is, therefore, essential and we are committed to
supporting our staff and our students as we work towards
achieving this goal in unison with our broader institutional
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 30TH AUGUST, 2009
-EDU INK _
* REDUCING DEPENDENCE WITH EDULINK
He stressed that the focus of The UWI is now "capacity
building for financial sustainability," to reduce dependence,
and St Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Clement
Sankat, went on to identify other areas of focus. Those areas,
specifically in the area of business development, would be
funding for research and innovation, and "commercialization
in all its facets i.e. physical, human, intellectual and even in
"There is a clear desire for it to have a stronger
capacity and engagement with staff... and certainly on the
commercialization of research and also on philanthropy
and gift giving," said Prof Sankat as he spoke at the launch
of one such initiative, Edulink, earlier this year.
The UWI and other Higher Education Institutions
in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of
States and the European Union Member States that are
signatories to the 9th European Development Fund (EDF)
are collaborating on the Edulink initiative, which funds
cooperative projects between its members.
The UWI is leading this project, 'Capacity Building
for the Financial Sustainability of ACP Higher Education
Institutions, which includes The University of Technology
(Jamaica), The University of Mauritius, The University
of Suriname, The University of Guyana, The University
of Belize, The University of the South Pacific, and The
University of Warwick.
(L-R) Dr David Rampersad of The UWI's Business Development Office, Principal Prof Clement Sankat and Prof Michael Shattock
of the University of Warwick at the Edulink launch in May.
This Edulink-funded project involves strengthening the
capacity of the member universities in the area of financial
sustainability, through the design and implementation
of a professional development programme on resource
mobilisation. The project will help partner institutions
to strengthen their competitiveness and enable ACP
states through their universities to achieve sustainable
development objectives and promote higher education as
a means of reducing poverty.
The project is intended to provide the tools to academic
and administrative staff to help them generate revenue more
effectively and create a shift from traditional sources of
funding. It will also facilitate capacity building in research
administration, use of technology, and the management of
With Edulink, academic and administrative staff of all
partner universities will be trained in revenue generation
techniques with a focus on philanthropy, grantsmanship,
commercialization of research and business development.
The project is also expected to result in the formulation
of a professional development programme in resource
mobilization and the establishment of a virtual office at
which will provide guidance and manage the implementation
of this project. The project will last for a period of twenty-
* CARING SEEDS
"Seeds for a Caring Society" began with a mission to
inspire university students to venture out and create
community gardens. The UWI Planters for Social Change,
a student-activist group based at the St Augustine Campus,
and students of the Social Policy and Administration III
class, started 'My Green Thumb, a project which trains
participants in the creation and maintenance of community
parks through the Master Home Garden Training Course.
To date, the group has created the Trinity Hall Food Park,
which serves as a template for the sustainability of domestic
agricultural production. The course is expected to lead
to the development of food parks at the San Juan Girls'
Primary School, the Cyril Ross Children's Home and The
Unemployment Relief Programme site in Mt Hope.
Part of the display at the ceremony, where seedlings were distributed.
--q~ -; I
Former President Sir Ellis Clarke is greeted by young Emmanuel, who was named after him, and his sister Christine, and their mother,
Patricia Jaggasar-Clement co-founder of UWI Planters for Social Change, while Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Hamid Ghany
looks on at their recent ceremony.
0 CAMPS NEW
SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009 UWI TODAY 5
* UWI PRODUCES 23 NEW DENTISTS AND 94 DOCTORS
With a population of 1.2 million, Trinidad and Tobago has 320 registered dentists, giving a dentist population ratio of
1:3,750, whereas the WHO recommended ratio is 1:2,500. There is a lacuna of dentists and obviously a great scope for
the dental profession in the country.
The Doctor of Dental Surgery Programme of The UWI recently held its oath-taking ceremony, with 23 new dentists
qualifying to practice. With the average annual number of graduates from the country being 15, this was a welcome
growth, especially as half of them secured honours and distinctions.
The numbers were higher in the MBBS programme, with 94 doctors graduating at their oath-taking ceremony. Kavita
Deonarine and Kibileri Williams took three prizes each, with Rishi Rampersad taking two.
At the oath taking ceremony for dental students: Prof Samuel Ramsewak, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Graduate Allana Tang
Choon (winner of the best overall performance, and three other awards), Campus Principal Prof Clement Sankat and Prof Paluri Murti
of the School of Dentistry.
Pro Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal, Professor Clement
Sankat and Judith Mark, General Manager, CDA signed the agree-
ment on behalf of their institutions.
* CDA JOINS HANDS ON
MEGA FARM PROJECTS
A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
was signed between The UWI and the Chaguaramas
Development Authority (CDA) in August. This MOU
outlines several areas of cooperation in relation to the
work being done on the Government's Mega Farm at
The agreement enables collaborative research
to develop agribusiness models, suitable varieties,
production systems, agricultural machinery designs,
post-harvest technologies and product development. It
creates an opportunity for joint design and delivery of
training programmes in the general areas of farming,
fisheries and agricultural science and technology,
research and experimentation, environmental
management, including marine science, infrastructure
development and enhancement, recreational and
tourism product development, and other areas relevant
to the achievement of food security and sustainable
1 0 AMPU NEW
6 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009
Of Pigs, Birds and Men
Novel genetic structure of swine flu
makes its course difficult to predict
The H1N1 virus continues to spread rapidly,with 97 reported
cases nationwide at the time of writing, although public
concern seems to have dissipated since the outbreak was
first reported mere months ago. Medical Epidemiologist,
DrAvery Hinds,answered our questions on the origin and
nature of what was first known as swine flu.
What distinguishes the HINI from other influenzas?
In many respects, the Novel Influenza A/H N 1 virus is
similar to other "flu" viruses that are responsible for seasonal
flu epidemics. It causes similar symptoms: fever, cough, sore
throat, runny nose, body pains, headache, general malaise
(feeling poorly) and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhoea.
In this regard, it is almost completely indistinguishable from
What makes this virus different-and by extension
a cause for concern-is that it has a completely novel
genetic structure of combined porcine (pig), avian (bird)
and human origin; therefore the specific genetic makeup
of this pandemic strain of the flu was never before seen in
viruses circulating among human beings. This presented
two concurrent potential problems:
* No one in the world would have immunity to this new
virus; meaning that everyone on the planet would
be susceptible to being made ill by this new strain of
* No one knew how this new virus would behave-would
it be as deadly as the 1918 pandemic? Would it be as
deadly as the Avian Flu? (Still currently being monitored
globally.) Would it spread quickly or slowly?
Is its rapid spread a result of some innate quality, or
is it largely a reflection of the interconnectedness of
Its spread is a combination of those two factors: The
new genetic makeup of this virus does seem to favour
high transmissibility, but the ubiquity of global travel has
accelerated the spread to a large extent.
Are local physicians adequately prepared in terms of
information and medication to diagnose HIN1, and
to treat patients with it?
Local physicians have been adequately informed of the
existing protocols for diagnosis and treatment of the new
pandemic flu. Information has gone out to the medical
profession through several channels designed to reach both
the public and the private physician population.
In terms of treatment, it is necessary to point out
that in most cases, disease has been very mild and no
specific/special treatment beyond supportive therapy has
been needed. In cases where more serious disease was
noted or where other risk factors were present, the treating
physicians have been advised to refer to the public facilities
where specialist teams were assembled to guide care of the
Severalpublic service messages have been broadcast
in various media with advice on hygienic and other
preventive measures to help contain the spread, are
These messages are accurate, informative and "on-
point" with regard to their content, their focus and the
channels of communication being used to spread them.
However, there is only so much that can be done by
the Ministry of Health or other authorities in spreading
information. There is always the element of personal
responsibility. Members of the public have an important
role to play in informing themselves by listening to the
official information released by the respective authorities,
reading the fliers, checking the website, reading the papers
and heeding the instructions given.
One or two cases have been reported where the
influenza seemed resistant to medication, what
complications can arise by a virus'mutation?
Mutation refers to random changes in the genetic
makeup of the virus. By nature, this process is completely
unpredictable. It is therefore difficult to say with any degree
of certainty what complications can arise if the virus
One of the possible outcomes is that it can become
adapted to the medications used to treat the flu. This most
commonly happens when persons start a course of antiviral
medications but do not take ALL of the medication (usually
because they have started to feel better). This gives some
"stronger" viruses the chance to survive and to reproduce,
leading to a new batch of "stronger" viruses than the
originals. In a short time, those stronger viruses can replace
the originals and become the dominant circulating virus,
which is more difficult to treat.
Another outcome is that viruses may become more
"virulent" meaning capable of causing worse illness.
Large numbers of persons may become severely ill if this
happens-a situation which can put great strain on the
workforce and the health care system.
* GUIDELINES FOR H1N1
The public needs to know and follow the guidelines currently
being issued by the Ministry of Health with regard to:
* The flu is spread by germ-carrying droplets from the
mouth/nose that are produced when people talk, cough
* Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue or with
the sleeve of your shirt/blouse: NOTWITH YOUR HANDS
* Dispose of the tissue in a bin after use
* Germ-carrying respiratory droplets can contaminate
common surfaces like door-knobs and counter-tops.
* Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and
water or use alcohol-based (70%) hand sanitizers to keep
SOCIAL DISTANCING BEHAVIOURS
* If you are ill with the flu, the best thing to do is to remain
away from work or school
GO TO YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU FEEL VERY UNWELL e.g.
* Very high fever that won't break
* Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
* Chest pain when breathing
* Dizziness or confusion
* Severe vomiting or diarrhoea
IN CHILDREN,ALSO BE AWARE OF:
* listlessness or lethargy (abnormal quietness or inactivity)
* decreased fluid intake
* rapid breathing
SWINE FLU masks
are being sold on
* DO YOU NEED A MASK?
Masks are needed in specific situations:
* Health care settings where personnel are directly involved
in close range interaction with persons who have
* In home settings where ill persons are at home and are
likely to interact with other family members at distances
of less than 6 feet (in which case the ill person should wear
* In home settings where family members are caring for ill
persons who cannot perform normal self-care activities (in
which case the caregiver should wear a mask)
* In situations where there is widespread, high intensity
disease transmission (as occurred in Mexico) where social
distancing is employed, mass gatherings are banned etc.
In these cases the public is advised to remain indoors
and ESSENTIAL excursions into the public domain are
accompanied by useof masksto reduce riskof spreading or
coming into contact with infectious respiratory droplets
In the local setting masks are not needed and, in fact, their
improper use can increase risk of infection by lulling persons
into a false sense of security. Please note the following:
* Masks need to be fitted to the face so that no air can seep
around the edges of the mask (otherwise they really serve
no purpose in this setting)
* Masks need to be changed every 4-6 hours, or if they
become damp from breathing through them
* If a mask is worn beyond the advised time, it becomes a
germ trap (due to the humidity) and can increase risk of
* Precautions need to be taken when masks are removed
to avoid contamination of hands and surfaces, if these
are not followed, using a mask can again increase risk of
transmission of respiratory illness by self contamination
and contamination of the environment.
Dr Avery Hinds is a Medical Epidemiologist attached to the National SI 1. riii, Unit of the Ministry of Health.
0 HALT ISUE
8 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009
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*H9o9iy DAVID (Roug nd V eady V 99
July 1990 was indeed a coup because it introduced a gun
culture to Trinidad that inside 20 years has so deeply
embedded itself that no one knows how to reverse it.
Crime and violence have risen to such alarming levels
that more people are migrating, travellers are being warned
to avoid the islands, and murders have become daily fare.
"We are now living fully in the age of Man Crab," says Peter
Minshall, and he had warned that it was coming 26 years
ago. What has changed in Trinidad and Tobago since those
heady days of Independence in 1962?
Echoing Rudder's characterizations of a Trini mentality
that imagines itself as "a chosen people" who "never worry
'bout these things" Gerard Hutchinson, a professor of
psychiatry, believes that while recent factors contribute
to the degeneration, Trinidad and Tobago was always
predisposed to this journey
Prof Hutchinson, Head of the Department of Clinical
Medical Sciences at The UWI, sees the pressure of a faster
pace of life, which has contributed significantly to poorer
mental health, the predilection for instant gratification,
and the easy availability of drugs and guns, as the most
recent dimensions contributing to the increase in crime
and violence, but thinks that the elements for disorder were
already encoded in the society's DNA.
More demands are being placed on people, requiring
them to cope with more, and it is reflected in all the
Caribbean islands, where the same kinds of patterns are
emerging, "more lifestyle related diseases, more diabetes,
more hypertension, more cardiovascular problems, more
mental health problems," he said. "It's a challenge of
development. It is related to increasing urbanisation and an
increasing sense that it is through material things, structures,
acquisitions, that you define your wellbeing, and that sets
up a lot of additional pressure."
Measuring accomplishments by their possessions has
aligned the young to a culture of material gain by whatever
"They want to get the prize more quickly than people in
previous generations because they think that the effort they
expended to get to that point is in itself requiring of a reward,
and they're not necessarily prepared to work especially hard
to achieve that and that has a trickle down effect. Ifyou're not
able to climb the education ladder then you would still want
to feel that you measure up and therefore crime becomes an
attractive vehicle to achieve those things" he said, and even
free education does not compete with that.
* PROF HUTCHINSON'S TRINIDAD
* Young people expect things faster, not just
in terms of crime, but in terms of the rewards
they feel are due to them because they have
achieved a particular level of certification.
* Social norms in Trinidad have always been
very fluid, and flouting them has never been
something that the society really creates a
great objection to.
* We have a kind of sneaking admiration for
the smart-man. We enjoy that capacity to
beat the odds, to be publicly extravagant
in terms of things we would say and what
you would promise, and having a kind of
personality that is hard to pin down,and which
is unpredictable. I think we enjoy that.
* Trinidadians love intrigue and the more
intrigue there is, even though it might be
impacting them negatively, they enjoy it,
they enjoy not knowing how things are going
to turn out, and speculating on how they
* It's become a cliche: our lawlessness, our
flouting of norms and the rule of law.
* That whole existential thing is also a big part of
Trinidad,that transience,we tend to shift from
things very quickly... common references to
seven-day wonders and people spending lots
of money on costumes and throwing them
away afterwards. I think we dwell in that world
* We're naturally a little overactive, impulsive,
inattentive... naturally, or innately maybe.
Theorists, he said, say it's not so much about rising
from poverty; it's more related to perceptions of inequality
of distribution. If you can't acquire it legally, you'll resort
to other means, or "be so stressed out by the fact that you
can't get it that you develop poor lifestyle habits that will
make you sick."
Trinidad has "particular things that apply," he said,
"and that is the whole drug culture," particularly cocaine,
that has "engulfed" us.
The gangs that dominate the criminal landscape are
not a new phenomenon, he said, though their features
may have altered because of drugs and guns. "It's probably
more widespread now, but that whole defence of turf and
territory was a major part of all the steel band wars," and
this is a Trinidadian trait.
The steelbands represented communities "who had
defined their territory and determined who should have
permission to enter and what kinds of punishment they
should receive if they violated those unwritten rules.
It evolved into something that is defined now by more
restricted terms and conditions, by predominantly illegal
activity, and the range of punishment now begins and ends
with use of a gun, rather than in the past, using bottles and
knives and cutlasses," he said.
"Many of the community leaders, as they were called,
were also seen within their communities as benefactors
in sports and entertainment, providing opportunities for
people in the community, particularly younger people, and
there is a sense that it is through this identification with
organizations like that that many young people, particularly
in the urban areas get their sense of belonging because they
don't get it anywhere else'.
Worsening violence is an issue, he concedes, but is "a
symptom of something deeper, which is the quintessential
Caribbean problem. It's about identity and belonging,"
and the loss of it, he said. "If you don't feel like you belong
somewhere then there's no incentive to hold it together."
At the hospitals, the number of people seeking attention
for violence-related issues has increased, even in psychiatry,
but the institutional response to crime from the policing,
judicial and health systems has "lagged behind," he said. "We
have not adjusted our capacity in terms of the demands that
trauma for example, would be making on the system," he
said, "because of the trauma people react more excessively,
more extremely to things that happen so they become so
much attuned to risk that they would come to the hospitals
almost at the drop of a hat'. The threshold for seeking help
SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009 UWI TODAY 9
regard to what
is important. 0 0
It's about art
in their lives.
has dropped because people are so edgy, and it is "putting
a lot of pressure" on the systems.
The violent ones share this hopelessness.
"The perpetrators of the violence feel that they are
caught up in something that they can't control. They feel that
they are reacting rather than acting and I think that for the
most part they would like a way out, but that way out has
to be provided with dignity and pride, because one of the
other things that has happened-going back to the whole
material thing-is that peer respect or community respect
or rank, has become a much bigger thing than it was"
From his counselling work with prisoners and others,
Prof Hutchinson finds that they "underplay their acts" and
"don't acknowledge a lot of what they do." Some do partly
because they don't want to "create an impression of being a
terrible, society-destroying person, which is interesting."
"I think a lot of them could be reached if we had systems
and structures in place to reach them, it is not that they
don't care but they have been taught or conditioned not
to care. Once they're taken out of that environment, they
become concerned again about the things that most people
in society are. They would say things like I really didn't
SA CASE IN POINT
"I saw a young guy once who was set adrift,
didn't really have any anchor, family was away...
and he saw this guy who was reputed to be a
hit-man in the community and the guy lived very
well, lived much better than everybody else and
he decided this was the way to live better. So he
said,'l want to do that,'and he became this guy's
apprentice, and this guy told him that to ascend
to full-fledged status he had to demonstrate that
he could kill somebody for no reason.Just for the
single purpose of killing.So they went and selected
somebodywho was a watchman in Chancellor Hill,
at some construction site, and he said well that's
Fortunately for him,or perhaps unfortunately,
after he did it he was overwhelmed by remorse,
and he said it wasn't worth it and it led to such
torment in his head that he gave himself in and
ended up being referred for psychiatric help; but
for whatever reason he had that capacity to step
back after having done it."
mean to do that but I had no choice, or, it just turned out
that way because..."
Violence that seems gratuitous or particularly savage
might be influenced by the drug trade's codes, he said.
Another issue is the justification for doing it, which "is
the result of a warped sense of humanness," the inability
to recognizee another human being as someone who does
not deserve to suffer, which introduces the mental health
component, because one of the things that makes us human
is the capacity to recognize in another human being the
shared responsibility for not doing harm or not deliberately
trying to damage the process of their life, whether physically
Something has changed in that inability to recognize
that, wrought over time by repeated exposure to direct and
The lack of consequences is another major factor, he
said, "the belief that you can act and do these inhumane
things with relative impunity. An illustration of that brutality
is the whole murder/suicide thing which has been going
on in Trinidad for a long time, and which is something
that we don't really see in many other places. It is that
refusal, usually related to relationships, to acknowledge
another person's right to exist in a way that's independent
of whatever control you're trying to place on them, but
acknowledgement thereafter of the loss of or lack of value
for life. It becomes almost inevitable that you would take
your own life afterwards."
In psychiatry, he said, some disorders have become
much more prevalent. One of them is Borderline Personality
Disorder; another is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder. In the first, patients have strong fears of
abandonment and resort to shifting identity based on
superficial acts, like how they dress, to be different. It
suggests shallowness and instability, he said, similar to the
traits exhibited by ADHD, which he thinks Trinidadians are
so predisposed to on account of their overactive, impulsive
and inattentive natures, that it has skewed the capacity to
determine what is pathological.
The society itself presents an unstable framework
because of its sheer complexity-if it were a patient, it
would be diagnosed with ADHD-and its innate qualities
combined with the drugs and guns met at a point of
convergence that has erupted out of control, said Prof
"I think the whole regional project is in danger."
RECOVERING A LOST GENERATION
"Any recovery project obviously would
have to be multi-focused.The top would have to
reconstruct at the same time that the bottom is
being reconstructed. If the top remains the same,
any reconstruction at the bottom will collapse as
well. The institutions necessary to facilitate that
reconstruction have to be remoulded-specifically
talking about education and health-and the
boundaries set by authority figures in the society
would also have to be reconfigured.
You hear all this talk about parenting, but
that won't work if the systems in which these
people have to function remain the same. They
have to occur in parallel. It's about rebuilding,
and a lot of stuff that's been said a hundred times
and more, about rebuilding communities and so
on, but it's about rebuilding them with a shift in
terms of what is the purpose of their rebuilding.
It's about changing core values with regard to
what is important, how quickly what is important
is supposed to be achieved. It's about art and
centering art and artistic expression in their lives.
It's about providing stability which I think is a big
influence on its own, the absence of stability in
their lives and the absence of a stable care-giver
whoever or wherever that might come from."
10 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009
Can we afford the cost of prolonging a life that's gone?
BY DR HARIHARAN SEETHARAMAN
Although we no longer pay directly, people should be
aware that the cost of treatment at an intensive care unit in
Trinidad and Tobago is between $5,000-$20,000 a day. This
enormous cost can be a strain on any healthcare system,
especially when there is a perennial shortage of hospital
However, because that cost is borne by the State, users
of the public healthcare system rely on intensive care unit
(ICU) services under circumstances when they might not
if they paid directly for it.
It raises several dilemmas for institutions, hospital
patients and their families, because technology has made
possible many recoveries that would once have been
miraculous, but still cannot hold the inevitable at bay
In modern times, all branches of medicine have grown
rapidly. Intensive care medicine has developed beyond
anybody's imagination, with high-technology support for
every failing organ system of the human body. People have
started thinking that death is preventable with the help
of technology. Because of this "death-denying" notion of
society, ICU admissions have increased, and dying on a
ventilator has become common in many countries.
A few years ago, Time magazine reported that while 70%
of Americans wanted to die at home, 75% died in hospitals
and at least 30% died in the ICU. Similarly, in Canada, a
survey showed that approximately 70% of the population
died in hospitals and 50% of deaths occurred in the ICU.
It is now accepted that people do not want to die in
medical institutions and also that relatives enter a financial
roller-coaster and face immense hardships during these
Widespread misconceptions about the value of
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are especially hyped
by television. In other words, death has become more of a
process rather than an event.
The ethical dimensions of end-of-life care are profound.
We live in fear of death and most people want to prevent
it by using high-technology life support. The reality is that
life-support can become an agony-prolonging intervention.
When the process of death gets prolonged in a "futile"
patient, intensive care is merely toying with biological
Vitalism, the belief that life processes are not wholly
governed by the laws of physics and chemistry, may favour
an argument that anything should be done to "save" life,
but delaying death by high-technology intervention will
not necessarily achieve the desired quality of life. Some
argue that modern medicine has to hold on to human life
because it is considered "worthy" (worthiness morality);
however, the reality is that this is usually done on the basis
Generally in high-technology medicine, huge sums
of money are spent to treat a relatively small number of
patients. Many treatment modalities of high-technology
medicine are limited to only those patients who have access
to it because of wealth, location, social class, etc.
Inequality of access to healthcare is a worldwide
phenomenon and greatly depends on the global inequalities
of resource distribution-the richest 1% of the world's
SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009 UWI TODAY 11
population earns as much as the poorest 57%. The per capital
healthcare expenditure for the 960 million people living in
the world's high-income countries is US$2,736. This is 130
times that of the per capital expenditure for the 2.5 billion
people living in the low-income countries, which is a meagre
US$21. The average cost of one high-technology medical
intervention in the developed world is much higher than the
annual per capital health expenditure in many developing
In the English-speaking Caribbean, high-technology
interventions such as ICU care are usually free to citizens,
and are in constant demand. There is a clear need for
allocating these services to those who would really benefit
Determining whether it is worthwhile is the heart of
The capability of high-technology to alter the dying
process and prolong a low-quality life has been described
as the Eos Syndrome of modern medicine. In Homer's
mythology, the goddess Eos asks Zeus to grant immortality
to her mortal lover, Tithonos; forgetting to ask for his eternal
youth. Tithonos grows so old that Eos abandons him in
isolation forever. To some, this is similar to managing a
patient on life-support systems in an ICU, prolonging the
process of death. Disease has to be addressed at a primary
level, without having to deal with the agonies of end-of-life
Another major ethical problem is the "rationing"
of intensive care. This is quite germane to Trinidad and
Tobago where there is a shortage of ICU beds. Although it
is unanimous that cost should not influence decisions, in
practice, things are quite different.
An interesting phenomenon occurred when the Eric
Williams Medical Sciences Complex changed from a "fee-
for-service" to an "all free" system in January 2006. During
the fee-for-service days, an 80-year-old man with incurable
brain haemorrhage was admitted to the ICU and was put
on life-support systems. His relatives asked to end the life
support due to the financial strain. Nowadays, when there is
no apparent knowledge of the costs involved, many relatives
want to continue support until the inevitable happens. Even
a discussion about the end-of-life care is misinterpreted as
pulling the plug.
Medical care might be better directed towards
preventing illness and treating the curably ill, rather than
supporting the life of an incurably sick patient. Our public
should not be carried away by television shows telecasting
miraculous survivals following CPR and ICU admissions.
Death is the stark end of everyone's life. The unnecessary
delay is quite distressing not only to the patient, but also to
the dear and near ones, as well as healthcare workers.
Dr. Hariharan Seetharaman is a Senior Lecturer and
Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at The UWI
"It is now accepted that
people do not want to die
in medical institutions and
also that relatives enter a
financial roller-coaster and
face immense hardships
during these periods."
Ir I Ij liaran S arlramarj jn
Feraaz Abdool (Shaper), Khemraj Manoo, Anton Beach, Keegan Forde,
Rajiv Sookdeo, Cornel Thompson, Rhea Boxill, Steaven Mc Millan, Ro-
nald Thannoo, and Askia Alleyne formed Group F whose project was
designed to help promote eco-tourism within the Valencia area.
* ENGINEERS SERVE COMMUNITIES
At the beginning of this year, the Department of Electrical
and Computer Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering
introduced a module with a difference to its BSc Electrical
and Computer Engineering programme.
The Community Service Learning (CSL) Group Project
will now be part of the Department's practice stream and
it is community-based. Essentially, students are required
to identify and solve a problem related to electrical and
computer engineering in a community of their choice.
By participating in this project, graduates are acquiring
the kinds of practical skills needed in our region as well as
an awareness of the social and economic needs of small
As the first cycle of eight group projects ended, the
Department received written expressions of gratitude from
recipient organizations. Students reported a great sense of
fulfillment as they gave back to their communities, which
they found to be a motivating experience. Yohan Seepersad,
a second-year student who has represented Trinidad and
Tobago at the Mathematics Olympiad in Mexico and Viet
Nam, said it was "one of my proudest moments in life thus
The Chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional
Corporation, where students developed a website featuring
Valencia, said "It was actually a pleasure to see technical
students taking interest in eco tourism'.
One student, Jagdish Boodoosingh, reported that
Toussaint Roberts, a member of the St. Vincent de Paul
Home Committee, was so thankful, he said, "God bless
this generation, this project was a gift from above," while
another member, Lennox Harris, said, "It makes my heart
glad to see young people taking on an active interest in us
These projects were all student initiatives and were
structured in such a way that each group was responsible
for identifying suitably qualified persons to supervise
the projects that they undertook, with approval from the
Department. It was the responsibility of the students to
acquire funding for their initiatives.
The projects they undertook were:
Online Tutorials, St. Mary's Home for Children
Installation of an Intercom System, Curepe
Presbyterian School (Group E2)
Promoting Eco-Tourism in the Valencia Area
Through Web-Based Technology (Group Fl)
Web-Based Skills Database Application: Skill Joy,
Penal/Debe Community (Group F2)
Replacement of Lighting System, Arunodai
Presbyterian Church (Group Gl)
Lights of Hope, St. Dominic's Children's Home
Installation of an Emergency Backup Light Systems
at the St. Vincent De Paul Home for the Aged
The SMS Based Community Messaging System,
Chaguanas (Group H2)
12 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009
How many types of poisonous snakes are there in
Trinidad and Tobago?
There are more than sixty species of snakes in Trinidad
and Tobago. Trinidad has four venomous species. There
are no venomous snakes in Tobago.
What are the venomous snakes of Trinidad?
The four species are the two Coral and the two Mapipire
* Large Coral Micrurus lemniscatus diutius
* Small Coral Micrurus circinalis
* Bushmaster aka Mapipire z'anana
Lachesis muta muta
* Fer-de-lance aka Mapipire balsain
Coral snakes are usually easily recognized by their red,
yellow/white, and black coloured banding. However,
several nonvenomous species including the False Coral
- have similar colouration! Some persons may have been
taught that "Red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black,
poison lack". This is not true for the Trinidad species.
Both banding patterns are poisonous.
The mapipire have two elongated, upper maxillary teeth
(fang), which can be unfolded from their resting position
against the roof of the mouth, to their biting position,
where they are almost perpendicular to the upper jaw.
Each fang is shed periodically and is replaced by the
first reserve fang. They have a deep, easily identifiable
pit between the eye and the nostril. (The pit is a heat
sensing device that aids in detecting warm-blooded
prey at night.) Colour and pattern are deceptive criteria
for identification and should only be used by the very
What First-Aid treatment
can be used for snake bites?
Unless the snake has been positively identified as being
non-venomous, all snake bites are medical emergencies
and the victim should be immediately transported to the
nearest health-care facility.
In circumstances where a long time may pass before the
victim can seek help from a healthcare professional:
* Keep the patient as calm as possible.
* Apply dressing if bleeding.
* Immobilize the affected limb at or below the level of
* A tourniquet or constricting bands should be applied
to the bitten limb, between the wound and the heart.
The band should be at least an inch (2 3 cm) wide
and slack enough for a finger to be passed between
the wound and the limb. (If the tourniquet is too
tight, the venom may be trapped and cause tissue
damage and necrosis tissue death).
* Transport to the nearest health-care facility.
What are some of the treatments
that are NOT advised?
* Cutting of the wound and sucking out the venom
is never recommended. (This has not been shown
to have any benefit and it can increase the effect of
infection or damage. Additionally, the mapipire's
fang can be over an inch (2.5 cm) long. An incision,
by an untrained person, to this depth can result in
life threatening injury. Persons sucking out venom,
who have open wounds in their mouths may also be
* Alcohol should not be used. (Alcohol increases blood
flow in the extremities and will help to spread the
* Eating dirt and/or ingesting a mixture of mud and
water are of no proven benefit.
What is the timeframe after which
the poison takes effect?
The time between being bitten and the development
of signs of poisoning depends on a number of factors,
* The nature, location, depth and number of bites
* Amount of venom / poison administered by the
* The species and size of the snake
* The age and size of the victim
* The general health of the victim (before the snake
* The victim's sensitivity to the venom
I have heard that treatment of venomous snakebites
require the use of antivenom. Where in Trinidad is
Not all snakebites will require antivenom treatment.
There are instances when the bite may be 'dry' (no
envenomation). However, The Ministry of Health
imports both coral and mapipire antivenom and makes it
available to the public at all major Government hospitals
Is there any scientific validity to some of the more
popular 'sayings' about snakes and snakebites?
* If after biting its victim, the snake gets to water before
the victim, the victim will surely die.
There is no evidence whatsoever to support this.
* Snakes get their poison by eating frogs / crapauds.
Venomous snakes are born with venom / poison in special
sacs from which it goes to the fangs. In fact very young
snakes can be even deadlier than mature venomous
snakes. This is because the mature snake limits the release
of venom as warranted by the particular situation (e.g.
size of prey), but the young snake invariably release the
entire content of their venom stores until such time as
they have learned this control.
Where can I obtain additional information
NATIONAL POISON CENTRE
The University of the West Indies
Faculty of Medical Sciences
Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex
Director: Dr. Verrol Simmons
Tel: 800 2742 Fax: 645 7428
THE EASTERN REGIONAL HEALTH
AUTHORITY POISON INFORMATION CENTRE
Sangre Grande District Hospital
Sangre Grande f
Director: Ms. Angelie Lochan
Tel: 800 2742 Fax: 668 4741
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Jt
SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009 UWI TODAY 13
1 CM NYE I
At a time where most depictions of society's youth are
negative, 22-year-old entrepreneur, Toni Thorne, CEO of
BoUiK and graduate of The University of the West Indies,
Cave Hill, has assembled a small team with a fresh new
approach to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Viewing social
responsibility as a vital aspect of modern business, she
identified the need to give back to society with the non-
profit venture Martha's Smile.
Statistics confirm that globally, the Caribbean ranks
second only to Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of the
prevalence of HIV/AIDS, making it possibly society's
biggest threat, particularly to our reproductive sectors.
Motivated by this harsh reality, the Martha's Smile
initiative, seeks to use creativity to assist Martha's Home, a
subsidiary of the Mustard Seed Communities. As a private
home in Jamaica, it is responsible for approximately thirty
HIV infected children who have either been abandoned
or orphaned. However, in a sad twist of fate, in March of
this year Martha's home was burnt to the ground; thus
the initiative was conceptualized to contribute to the
"Jamaica was responsible for a large amount of
the exposure we received as a small company in the
Caribbean fashion industry. We simply had to do
something to give back to the lovely community there;
ideally, it is a regional effort. I think everyone knows
someone suffering from the stigma and health effects of
HIV/AIDS," said Thome.
Under the project, which is already turning heads,
dance and music lessons will be provided to the home's
charges for at least a year. Additionally, BoUiK intends
to host an Art Day where the children will be asked to
paint and dye an all-white collection donated by the
Caribbean's best designers.
This collection will then be showcased and auctioned
amidst all its deserving glitz and glamour in late
September in Jamaica. All proceeds from the fashion
show, which has thus far been endorsed by The Jamaica
Child Development Agency, Jamaica Association of
Young Professionals, Toy Box Charity Foundation and
Mustard Seed Communities, the Love Campaign and
Pulse Caribbean, would then be donated to Martha's
Clearly, Martha's Smile is contagious as designers
from as far as Columbia, in the likes of Alfonso Mendoca,
the project's official accessories designer, are "ecstatic"
that they could be a part of something that combines their
passion with such a noble purpose. Other fashion icons
involved include, Trinidad's Claudia Pegus and Heather
Jones, St Vincent's Tamiko Browne, Guyana's Andrew
Harris and Sonia Noel, Jamaica's Poshe and Kumba and
from Barbados Rojoe, Fetish by Cassandra Mottley, Fifth
Element, Kaye Applewaithe, Kingley Thorne, Nefertari,
Pat Blackman, Pat Brathwaite, Pauline Bellamy, Posh
Punk by Antonio Cumberbatch, Shakad by Shanika
Burnett, Sharon James, Simon Foster, 3rd Revolt, Wayne
Models at one of Toni Thorne's BoUiK's shows.
'You can Help' is a volunteer programme that
relies on students and community groups who
offer their time and services to construct homes
for the needy, with the latest project being
constructing a home for a family in Tunapuna
The programme began in 2005, when 70
secondary school and university students pitched
in to help build a Gran Couva home for a needy
family with eight children. The programme was
launched by North Hall, a registered non-profit
organisation that aims to help young men make
choices that will lead them to become responsible
adults. At North Hall, students are exposed to
human development programmes via seminars,
conferences, hikes, spiritual development classes,
mentorship programmes and sports. The 'You Can
Help' programme helps students to understand
the value of community service and deepens their
For more information about the 'You Can Help'
programme, please contact North Hall at: northhall@
gmail.com or call (868) 645-9755, or visit the centre
located at 7 Deane Street, St Augustine.
Andre Edoo, a second-year student in Social Sciences
lends a community hand.
SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009 UWI TODAY 15
Works from students of The UWI's Film Programme are
among a range of films, including feature-length narratives,
documentaries, experimental films and short films, to be
screened in preparation for the Trinidad & Tobago Film
Students with work to show are Thomas Jemmerson
(Queen of the Brands), Roger Alexis (The Contemporary
Sorcerer), Oyetayo Ojoade (Suckmeh Soucouyant), Jimmel
Daniel and Renee Pollonais (Power of the Vagina), Solange
Plaza (Racing Definitions). A collective of students from the
final year will be represented by the film Sans Souci, written
and directed by Francesca Hawkins.
Bury Your Mother, an experimental film by UWI
alumnus Jaime Lee Loy will also be shown.
In addition to the student screenings, filmmaker and
lecturer in the Film Programme, Robert Yao Ramesar
will be screening his feature film Sistagod II: Her Second
Coming, while Coordinator of the Film Programme, Dr
Jean Antoine-Dunne's documentary on Prof Gordon
Rohlehr will be shown. Prof Patricia Mohammed's film
about Indo-Trinidadian culture, Coolie Pink and Green,
will be shown, as well as a film about VS Naipaul by Dr
Noted British documentary filmmaker Adam Low will
attend on Thursday 24, for a screening of his film about
acclaimed Indian director Satyajit Ray (Ray's debut film,
the classic, Pather Panchali, will follow).
A number of filmmakers from the black British film
collective, BFM, will screen some of their films on Friday
During the day, screenings take place at the Centre for
Language Learning, at the St Augustine campus, and on
evenings, they will be outdoors at the new Film Programme
location on Carmody Street in St Augustine.
The screenings take place on Thursday 24 and Friday
25 September and are free and open to the public.
See Screening Schedule on Page 16
Sweolln the Cacique Awad Hihfve an Vixs
The UWI was outstanding at the prestigious Cacique
Awards held recently at Queen's Hall in St Ann's.
The awards, which covered the period from 2007 to
2008, were dominated by the Festival Chorale, led by Jessel
Murray, which took six awards for Oliver (2007); while
three awards went to The Sound of Music (2008), including
Most Outstanding Actress (Hannah Howard).
The Department of Festival and Creative Arts added
to that making the overall UWI haul come up to 11 of the
22 awards presented on the night.
Student Production's Bitter Cassava (2008) won awards
for Most Outstanding Supporting Actress (Abigail Henry)
and Most Outstanding Supporting Actor (Muhammed
Muwakil). Dimitri Pollard, 11, won the Most Outstanding
Supporting Actor award. Congratulations!
AWARDS WON BY UWI 2007
1. Most Outstanding Achievement in Set Design:
Kwynn Johnson: Oliver
2. Most Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design:
Paulette Alfred: Oliver
3. Most Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a
Supporting Role: Kendra Sylvester: Oliver
4. Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a
Supporting Role: Dimitri Pollard: Oliver
5. Most Outstanding Dramatic Production: Oliver
6. Most Outstanding Production: Oliver
AWARDS WON BY UWI 2008
1. Most Outstanding Achievement in Set Design:
Gillian Creese and Jennifer Moab:
Sound of Music
2. Most Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design:
Paulette Alfred: Sound of Music
3. Most Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a
Supporting Role: Abigail Henry: Bitter Cassava
4. Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a
Supporting Role: Mohammed Muwakil: Bitter
5. Most Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a
Leading Role: Hannah Howard: Sound of Music
1 I TE RT
16 UWI TODAY- SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2009
UWI CALENDAR ofEVENTS
7th Annual Independence Cruise
AurguIst 31st 2009
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UWI LIFE 2009
September 2ncl-4th, 2009
UWI, St Augustine Campus
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Strategies to Cope with Global
September 4th, 2009
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An Enigma of Style
Saturday 12th Septembei, 2009
Leaning Resource Centre, UWI
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Screenings for Trinidad & Tobago Film
September 24th-25th, 2009
UWI, St Augustine Campus
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THURSDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2009
1 1am- 1pm
The Contemporary Sorcerer,
Carmen & Geoffrey
The Cinema of Satyaiit Ray
Suck Nleh Soucouyant, Sistagod II
FRIDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2009
1 lam- 1pm
La passion d'un pays
1 pm- 2pm
Racing Definitions, Power of the Vagina
Sans Souci, Bury Your Mother
Documentaries on Gordon Rohlehr and
Leroy Clarke, Coolie Pink and Green
Queen of the Brands, Melvin:
Portrait of a Player, Hasta Siempre,
UWI TODAY WANTS
TO HEAR FROM YOU
,. i rill.l' l h I Pr I h i r i ., 1 lin 1 'r Il I I -ll. l ll I.
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.