Title: UWI today
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094180/00023
 Material Information
Title: UWI today
Physical Description: Newspaper
Language: English
Publisher: UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Place of Publication: St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Publication Date: August 29, 2010
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094180
Volume ID: VID00023
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Michelle Cazabon-Mannette tagging a Hawksbill turtle for her research

With this year designated as International Year of
Biodiversity, we thought it fitting to look at what this
complex area entails and why it is so important to the
The St. Augustine Campus of The UWI is the home
of three important sites of biodiversity: the Cocoa
Research Unit which is the custodian of the world
renowned International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad
(ICG,T), the National Herbarium, which is a regional
repository of botanical life, and the Zoology Museum,
with thousands of specimens. We look at these three
sites, as well as the work being done by postgraduate
students in relevant areas.

Our cover photograph shows one of them,
Michelle Cazabon-Mannette with a Hawksbill turtle
in Tobago waters. Her research has been on two species,
the Hawksbill and the Green turtle, their distribution,
their habits, their genetics and, as an aside, their value
as a tourist attraction to scuba divers.
Two of our researchers, Prof Andrew Lawrence
and Dr Howard Nelson explain how our rich
biodiversity is not only a source of natural wealth,
but brings measurable economic value to our islands.
The UWI is now running a pilot for a new Edulink-
funded biodiversity MSc programme to begin in the

following academic year, and it looks fascinating in
terms of its scope.
The planet's efforts to preserve biodiversity have
been falling way below the targets set at the last major
world conference in 2002. Indeed, the latest reports,
due to be discussed at the global Convention on
Biological Diversity conference in Japan, in October
2010 will show that species are still growing extinct at
an alarming rate.
With the Caribbean so naturally blessed, we have
a great responsibility not to squander our resources,
the consequences are too dire.

A True Trini Bird
* Precious Pawi

Helping Haiti
* Vice Chancellor's Lecture

1960 -2010



US Assistant Seac

of State visits The

The Honourable Arturo Valenzuela, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, speaks to
UWI students, faculty and staff about using cooperation as a tool for achieving world peace.

All nations must "work together to build a
better world ... we want a world of peace, that
gives opportunity" encouraged the Honourable
Arturo Valenzuela, US Assistant Secretary of
State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, at
a meeting held at The UWI, St. Augustine
Campus, on Friday 30th July, 2010.
At 11.30 that morning, 30 graduate
students from The UWI Faculty of Social
Sciences, gathered at the Campus Principal's
Office for a brief, informal classroom session
with Dr. Valenzuela, who made his visit to
UWI on his way to Piarco airport for his
return flight to the US. Also in attendance at
the session were members of the faculty and
staff of the Institute of International Relations
(IIR), including IIR Director, Professor
Timothy Shaw.
The 'class' was brought to order with
welcome remarks by acting Campus Principal,
Professor Dyer Narinesingh, who expressed
the university's goal to "encourage our students
to see things through different lenses." US
Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Her
Excellency Beatrice Walters, accompanied
Dr. Valenzuela on his visit and followed,
introducing him to his audience.
Dr. Valenzuela tookthe floor, first revealing
his strategy of developing a "framework for

genuine cooperation" among the countries of
the world where, "through mutual respect, we
can learn from one another." He then addressed
the "significant international financial crisis,"
and spoke of the Obama administration's
efforts to overcome it. "We need to have
robust, smart policies," Dr. Valenzuela said.
He concluded with the four pillars of US
policy towards the Americas, which he listed
as: discovering how the various countries
can work together to promote economic
development, developing higher levels of
citizen security in all countries, ensuring that
there is enough energy to support growing
economies particularly with rising concerns
about climate change and determining how
to develop an "energy future" while protecting
the environment.
Dr. Valenzuela then invited questions
from the students and was met with a good
response, as they were eager to have their
concerns addressed.
Professor Shaw ended the affair with a
vote of thanks to Dr. Valenzuela and Professor
Narinesingh dismissed the 'class' with a few
words of encouragement to the students,
to continue their keen curiosity in world

Dr. Arturo Valenzuela chats with a UWI student after the meeting

Welcome Back

With the long vacation behind us, The UWI
St. Augustine Campus is beginning a new
academic year with continued vigour and
new programmes as we continue to expand
our services and offerings to our national and
regional Community.
A fresh group of students will enter our
gates in the next few days to find orientation
programmes that we have been continuously
improving to meet changing demands and
to ease the transition into university life.
I extend a warm welcome to all new and
returning students, as well as to the new
members of staff joining our Campus community.
Over the last few years, The UWI, as an institution, has been refocusing
its emphasis to strengthen graduate studies and research. We understand
that the region's needs demand more research, development and innovation
at the postgraduate level, and we have been reconfiguring our capacities to
enable us to provide more support at this stage.
Coupled with the growing trend of continuous learning and professional
development throughout one's career, the opportunities in graduate studies
have led to a larger intake of mature students, whose needs are distinct
from students fresh out of secondary school. This is also true for students
registering in our Evening University Programmes. In this regard, we have
been customizing our services to students to recognize these differences and
provide the relevant support. As such, our orientation programmes are far
different from what they used to be in times gone by.
This is a special year for our Campus because it marks the fiftieth
anniversary of the formal establishment of The UWI St. Augustine Campus
on October 12th 1960. It is indeed a significant milestone for a Campus that
has helped shape the human development of post-Independence Trinidad
and Tobago. We have dedicated the week of October 10-15 to celebrating
this historic occasion and you will hear more about our activities over the
coming weeks.
At fifty, we feel we have come of age, having moved past the fledgling days
and become internationally recognized as one of the bedrock institutions
of the region, an accomplishment of which our founders would indeed be
proud. We appreciate our responsibility to provide leadership, knowledge and
guidance as well as an opportunity for higher education and a foundation
for innovation and critical thinking. Our promise to our incoming and
current students is to continue to impart these qualities to the best of our
ability and to build a sustainable Campus for future generations. The UWI
St. Augustine Campus is fifty and forging ahead!

Pro Vice Chancellor & Principal


Professor Clement Sankat

Mrs. Dawn Marie De Four-Gill

Ms. Vaneisa Baksh

The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002, exts. 2013. 2014
Or email: uwitoday@sta.uwi.edu






Two Students pay Tribute

Professor Dennis Alberto Pantin (1948-2010)

By Malini Maharaj By Donna Ramjattan

Sir Arthur Lewis, a Nobel Laureate of Caribbean heritage
is well known for saying that economics was "based on an
understanding of the conditions under which people live."
It was not until I met Prof Dennis Pantin in 2003 that I
saw this philosophy embodied in the passion and spirit
of one person. I understood only then through his work,
that money, fame and success meant very little if one was
not concerned with what was happening around us-to our
people, to our country and to our world. For Dennis Pantin,
success was being able to change the harsh realities that
many are faced with, even if these circumstances changed
only for one person at a time.
In Prof Pantin I found an open mind, a kind heart and
a sometimes strange but brilliant perspective on life which
opened for me a whole new meaning of the word "success."
Prof Pantin taught me that success was not selfish; it was
not about recognition or fame but rather about affecting and
improving people's lives. His involvement in environmental
economics, in work on poverty and sustainable livelihoods,
governance and constitutional reform, was not restricted
to office hours at the University. He lived and practised
the teachings and philosophy of sustainable development,
whether it was through refusing to buybottled water because
it contributed to waste and pollution, or printing on both
sides of paper to save trees, and even sacrificing his Republic
Day holiday to walk for Constitutional Reform!
Prof's mind was as complicated as his handwriting,
yet there was a simplicity that belied this academic genius,
which appealed to everyone, from the vendors around
the Savannah, to the person sitting next to him in a bar,
to the executive in fine couture, naturally unlike how Prof
invariably would be dressed.

I can't help but smile every time I reminisce on the huge
piles of books and papers on his desk. Prof was quick
to reassure me, "Don't worry, I know where everything
is." He cleverly dismissed any notion that his office was
disorganized by referring you to a poster stuck on his notice
board with these words attributed to Albert Einstein: "If a
cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an
empty desk a sign?"
As a member of the Sustainable Economic Development
Unit (SEDU), I recall whenever the team travelled to various
Caribbean destinations for conferences and workshops,
Prof would always make sure to enjoy the pleasures of the
Caribbean. He would say "we can't be all work and no play!"
His standard requirement of Caribbean hotels was that the
beach must be within walking distance so that he could take
a dip after the long meetings-he loved the beach. He enjoyed
these simple pleasures and made you, as a Caribbean citizen,
proud of the region's natural beauty.

"Everyone has a story; a life and

a world uniquely crafted based on

one's experiences. I feel privileged

to have shared in a small excerpt-

a line or two, perhaps a

paragraph-of Prof's story."

Prof was notorious for his little black diary, his palm
pilot in which he stored everything. His handwriting looked
like hieroglyphics, yet even with his haphazard method
of record-keeping, he always knew everything that was
happening around him, everything!
Prof had a strong work ethic. Work hardly seemed
something that required deliberate effort as Prof would
always remind us of a bigger purpose that involved what
he and the SEDU stood for. He created something positive
out of challenging circumstances-be it personal trials or
even national economic crises. He had faith in us and in
society-even when we lost faith in ourselves.
Everyone has a story; a life and a world uniquely crafted
based on one's experiences. I feel privileged to have shared
in a small excerpt-a line or two, perhaps a paragraph-of
Prof's story.
For many of us, Prof Pantin represents the defining
chapter that lays the foundation for the rest of our stories.
Through this experience we can only promise him that
the legacy he has left with and in us does not end, but
remains as undying as that undeniable spirit, that passion
for life and that love for who we are and what we do. He
will remain etched in our hearts and our histories. Prof
was an inspiration, a mentor, a best friend and, as all who
ever met him would attest, a true, true Caribbean man. He
instilled in us the values to work hard and play even harder,
to treasure friends and family and to love life. There is no
denying his love of culture. He knew how to make the word
"lime" come to life. There was no job left undone without a
good lime to top it off.
Prof, thanks for the memories. Your legacy will live on
through the work of the Sustainable Economic Development
Unit (SEDU) and through your students.

Malini Maharaj and Donna Ramjattan were students of Prof Pantin and, at the time of his passing, his Teaching Assistants. Donna works at SEDU.




A generation ago the central problem facing humanity
was the threat of all-out nuclear war. The central problem
in our time is the need to save our planet from irreversible
environmental decay.
The UWI recognizes the special responsibility of
academic institutions to show leadership in the preservation
of the environment. To this end, we formulated an
Environmental Policy, approved in 2008 by the University's
Academic Board and Finance and General Purposes
Committee, and executed by the Campus Environmental
Committee, to assist the university in doing the right things
with respect to the environment, and showing others how
to do the right things.
Among our current thrusts is sharply reducing the
amount of solid waste that our students and staff send to the
dump. The Environmental Committee's ambition is nothing
less than to set an example that will introduce a radical
change in how our society views and manages solid waste.

It is reasonable to expect that within a generation we will
see a marked difference in this area of daily life.
Working on the same premise, but with respect to
flooding and deforestation, the UWI Biological Society
has been looking at ways to slow down the rush of water
during heavy rainfalls. Members have been putting stones
into uphill gullies and planting water-tolerant plants in
trenches to provide some barriers for the rushing waters.
In June, they devoted themselves to reforestation projects,
working on two hectares of land in Lopinot Village that had
been ravaged by forest fires.
Educational methods are an important strategy for
getting environmentally friendly messages across, as
demonstrated in a course on Tropical Forest Ecology
Management, which deals with deforestation and its
environmental implications, taught by Dr Michael Oatham,
a lecturer in the Life Sciences Department.

Members of the UWI Bioloeical Society placed stones in bullies and replanted uphill areas in a bid to alleviate flooding.






What makes us a


What makes the Caribbean such a hotspot of biodiversity?
A//d i n 'Ii/ t is biodi\'c'sit' *ul'11 '*i '?


PAWI in flight, one ot two endemic birds to Trinidad & 'obago.

Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on the planet, in all
its forms, says Dr Howard Nelson, a researcher at The UWI,
but biologists have placed them into three broad categories
- genetic, species and ecosystem diversity.
Biodiversity provide humans with critical goods and
services, he says, listing some off: water production; food,
fiber and fuel; soil formation and protection; sustainable
livelihoods derived from ecotourism and the harvesting of
forest products, and equally important, being a spiritual and
cultural well-spring for regional people.

The Caribbean and South America are considered hotspots
in terms ofbiodiversity, says Dr Nelson, citing the rainforests
and the coral reefs as two striking examples.
"Most of the islands are oceanic islands and are in the
middle of nowhere," he says, "that isolation allows evolution."
He says there are high levels of endemism (unique species)
in places like St Vincent, St Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe,
Cuba and Hispaniola. "Almost every plant, ever insect you
touch... everything tends to be unique."'
As islands, Trinidad and Tobago have low levels of
endemism, for instance, only two endemic birds [Trinidad
Piping-guan, or the Pawi (Pilpile pipile) and the Trinidad
Mot Mot (Momotus bahamensis) which was only given
species status within the last year, thus making it a new
But they are teeming with species.
Avian species richness of approximately 420 spp.
Butterfly species richness of over 660 spp
Mammal species richness of 97 native spp

Making a presentation on the biodiversity crisis from an
island perspective, Dr Nelson had said that the minimum
estimated value of 17 ecosystem services was between US$33
billion and US$54 billion, while the current global gross
national product was U$18 billion, practically half of that.
"It would take two to three times the value of all human
economic activity on the planet to replicate 17 ecosystem
services provided by nature'," he explains.
Andrew Lawrence, a professor of Environmental

Biology, is sitting with us and he comments that the
ecosystems have a functional value to us.
"Coral reefs in Tobago have an estimated value of
about $160 million annually, in tourism, fisheries and
shoreline protection; that's about half the GDP of Tobago."'
(Afterwards, he sent figures from the World Resources
Institute which confirmed what he said.)


Reef associated tourism in Tobago
contributed US$100 130 million per year in 2006

Fisheries economic benefit ranged from
US$0.8 1.3 million per year

Shoreline protection services of reefs were
valued at US$18 33 million

In 2006 the GDP of Tobago was US$286 million

Designated the International Year of BioDiversity, 2010
has been redefined not as the year to mark a significant
reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss but at best, as the
year when the world began taking it seriously.
In 2007, economist Pavan Sukhdev was asked to lead
a study, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity
(TEEB), which revealed that one-third of Earth's habitats
have been damaged by humans. In October, the final
findings will be presented at the global Convention on
Biological Diversity conference in Japan, the biggest marker
of the year of Biodiversity.
"Our analysis shows that governments have failed to
deliver on the commitments they made in 2002: biodiversity
is still being lost as fast as ever, and we have made little
headway in reducing the pressures on species, habitats and
ecosystems," said Stuart Butchart, lead author of the first
formal assessment of the target, published in the journal,



The St Augustine Campus of The UWI
is preparing two exciting new biodiversity
programmes for the 2011-2012 academic
year. A 24-credit Diploma and a 45-credit MSc
in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable
Development will be awarded from four regional
universities, The UWI, University of Guyana,
University of Belize and Anton de Kom University
of Suriname.
The proposed Programme expands on the
Science & Management of Tropical Biodiversity
Diploma and MSc currently run bythe Department
of Life Sciences St.Augustine, by introducing four
new courses and modifying existing courses,
based on a regional needs assessment, and
designed through the European Union-ACP
Funded Edulink Biodiversity Project.
Edulink is an initiative that funds cooperative
projects between ACP HEIs and the 15 EU
member States that are signatories to the 9th
European Fund (EDF).
Andrew Lawrence, a Professor of
Environmental Biology at the Life Sciences
Department, is a key member of the team
designing the programmes. He said the regional
needs were ascertained after an electronic survey
was done and discussions held with about ten
countries, who all asked for basic taxonomy
training, among other things. A pilot MSc is
currently running, and he says it will be of use in
many areas such as policy-making, environment,
marine life, etc.
About three quarters of the Diploma and
the MSc will be delivered via distance teaching.
Continuous assessment rather than final
examinations will also be a feature.The Diploma
will be offered for one year full-time or two years
part-time, while the MSc will run for 18 months
full-time and three years part-time.

1. Characteristics of Biodiversity
2. Threats to Tropical Biodiversity
3. Environmental Law and Multilateral
Environmental Agreements
4. Environmental Economics
5. Environmental Impact Assessment
6. Advanced GIS (geographic information
7. Management and Analysis
of Environmental Data
8. Sustainable Use and Management
of Natural Resources
9. Conservation & Management
of Biodiversity
10. Pollution and Ecotoxicology
11. Field Practicum
12. Taxonomy and Bioinformatics
13. Research Project
14. Environmental Resources Policy
15. Socio-ecology and Natural Resources

"Coral reefs in Tobago have an estimated value of about
$160 million annually, in tourism, fisheries and shoreline
protection; that's about half the GDP of Tobago."

0 ?HiNEW PRGRMME^^^^^^^^^




The Old Curiosity Museum


It's a curiosity; that's what it is. Innocuous along a grey
corridor of classrooms... FSA 114, FSA 113, Biosystematic
Laboratory L53... it's hard to imagine that just beyond the
door with the square glass pane reposes a 5000-year-old
Banwari skeleton.
Like a buried treasure chest, the Zoology Museum at
UWI's St. Augustine Campus contains layers of riches-the
collection reflects the scandalous bio-diversity of the
country, its range is unparalleled, it is a trove for researchers
(it provides animal IDs) and simply, it is just full of
fascinating stuff.
The Zoology Museum is actually divided between two
rooms. The first, opposite L53, has a formidable array of
shelves where jars huddle-The Spirit Collection. Tightly
packed in here are around 2,500 jars, mostly filled with
fish of both marine and freshwater species. It's teeming
with preserved marine life (some in The Dried Collection):
crustaceans, molluscs, sponges, corals, thousands of shells
and, not for the squeamish (whose name I won't call), a fair
number of reptiles, amphibians and bats.
Many of the exhibits have been brought in by students,
researchers, and curious adventurers, making it an open,
growing collection-pretty much as it has been since 1920
when it started.
Next door is the Land Arthropod Room, which is
all insects and land arthropods (jointed-leg creatures):
scorpions, centipedes (the largest in the world is a
Trinidadian), spiders, millipedes, and the like, about 15,000
specimens. The majority of them are pinned in drawers and
cabinets, most are from Trinidad and Tobago, and the rest
are mainly from within the Caribbean.
The butterflies and moths are gorgeous, farmers
must see the bugs, and the beetles clearly belong in sci-fi
movies, some so ornate and brilliantly coloured, they lie like
iridescent jewels. Of course there are the social insects: ants,
bees, wasps-darlings of the Life Sciences Department-and
the pests: mosquitoes, houseflies, cockroaches (enormous
ones!). There is also a Geology Collection, full of minerals,
rocks and fossils of all sorts, and the Anthropology
Collection which holds the Banwari skeleton found in San
Francique in 1971.
It is truly diverse, with some oddities thrown in: heart
of a whale, paw of an elephant, backbone of a buffalo, skull
of a child, you get the drift.
The Museum has benefited from donations by
individuals and organizations.
In the late 1940s, for instance, the collection of
butterflies and moths belonging to Sir Norman Lamont, a
Scottish baronet and estate owner in Trinidad (site of the
River Estate Museum and Water Wheel in Diego Martin),
was donated to the Museum. Sir Norman had served on
the Legislative Council of Trinidad and Tobago from 1921


Two-headed shark embryo

to 1945, and was a Governor of the Imperial College of
Tropical Agriculture (ICTA), the forerunner to The UWI.
His interest in entomology led to him producing a Catalogue
of Trinidad Moths in 1927. (At 79, he was gored to death
by a bull on his estate.)
Apart from The UWI, there are two other substantial
collections in the country. CAB International, an organisation
celebrating its centenary this year, houses approximately
15,000-20,000 specimens. According to its website, CABI
began in 1910 as an entomological committee, but now
offers service in agricultural information, pest identification
and biological control. The Centre's Administrator, Anne
De Gazon, explained that the small office, tucked away on
Gordon Street in St Augustine, cannot accommodate masses
of visitors but students and researchers are welcomed to use
the facilities as long as they call ahead.
The other major collection has been assembled under
a different premise. At the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre
(CAREC), specimens were gathered on account of their
epidemiological relevance insects, mammals, reptiles,
even an experimental mosquito colony anything that could
further the work initially begun by the Trinidad Regional
Virus Laboratory, which existed from 1953 until it was
absorbed into CAREC in 1975.
The collections of all three are generally kept quietly,
partly because their specialised exhibits are of interest
mainly to a select group; but space is a big factor in their
inability to accommodate large groups or to advertise their
wares on a grander scale.
The freshly appointed curator of the Zoology Museum,
Mike Rutherford, wants to change that. Since he came to St.
Augustine just over six months ago to take up the position,
he has been busy stock-taking, cataloguing and working
out strategies to build its profile and garner corporate
sponsorship for its future.
Acknowledging that it is a tall order, Rutherford
envisions a Bio-Diversity Centre, large enough and wise
enough to house various units on the campus which
contribute to bio-diversity. The National Herbarium and
the Cocoa Research Unit (custodian of one of two world
cacao genebanks) would be natural cohabitants.
His wish list includes a purpose-built museum with
space for storage and display, a comprehensive database, and
resources for staff, conservators, tour guides, and technology.
It would be costly, but an investment in the country at many
levels (corporations should find that appealing).
"It's readily accepted that historical artefacts are
housed in national museums, but you have to look at your
natural history in the same way," he says. "The zoological
and botanical specimens should all be valued in the same
way. The only way to get people to care more for their
environment is to let them be informed about it."
And the museum is living proof of that.

A .r,
Curator of the Zoology Museum, Mike Rutherford



It might not be kind to say he is one of the
oddities at the Zoology Museum, but it is
tempting because there is such a pleasing oddness
about Mike Rutherford that one can't help but
think he is a good choice for its curator.
He'd been skinning a rabbit, just before we
settled down to talk. On the desk in his office
there is a plastic sour cream container right next
to a small jar of scorpions. Figuring there might
be some equally grisly content instead of sour
cream, I ask with feigned casualness. He grins
and pulls the lid off. Raisins and nuts. Next to
the scorpions.
He obviously loves what he does, and as
he talks about his life, it is clear why. Born in
Scotland, with a mum who volunteered at a
zoo, the family moved to Malawi when he was
about three and he grew up around all kinds of
"The best was when mum brought home
a lion cub which had been rejected," he says
as he lists off the tortoises, dogs, cats, owls and
other birds who were constantly part of their
household. When he was eight, they moved back
to Scotland and he entered the school system.
He'd always loved Biology and the Sciences in
general and he did a Zoology degree at Glasgow
University. He started doing Medicine, but after
a year realized it was not for him.
He took charge of the Tropical House at
Newquay Zoo in Cornwall and that lasted for six
months, then he went off to Glasgow Museum
where he stayed for seven years as Curator of
He had filled in for a friend on an expedition
to Trinidad and when he saw the vacancy for
the job at St. Augustine, he felt it was a direct
call to him.
Six months on, in between cataloguing and
ensuring specimens are properly preserved, he is
looking for ways to get the museum used more by
schools, researchers and other museums.
He's thinking of something of a Bio-Blitz
competition: where experts and members of
the public spend 24 hours on the campus trying
to record how many different species they can
As a hotspot of bio-diversity, the number of
species they find is sure to be high; but no chance
they'll find another Mike Rutherford. (VB)


The National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago was
established as a unit of the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1887
to be a repository for a collection of native and introduced
plants. At that time the Botanic Gardens played an advisory
role in the islands' agricultural activities, especially in the
identification and control of pests and diseases. The decision
to locate the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA)
in Trinidad in 1922 secured the future of the Herbarium
as a research facility. In July 1947, to facilitate expanding
botanical research and publication of the Flora of Trinidad
and Tobago, the Herbarium was transferred to ICTA in St.
Augustine. The collections were held in the Plant Pathology
Department until 1953, when the Herbarium was moved
to its own purpose-built room in the newly constructed Sir
Frank Stockdale building, where it still resides.
Its geographic mandate is the wider Caribbean,
particularly CARICOM and the Eastern Caribbean, although
material from T&T predominates in the holdings.
The Herbarium is mainly a primary-systematic
collection although its high level of curation allowed it
to continue in its original role as a reference collection.
It includes the cocoa (1ii ..i.. ,,, cacao) germplasm

collection inherited from the Anglo-Colombian Collecting
Expedition of 1953, the only voucher collection of its kind
in this hemisphere. Vascular land plants form the bulk of
the specimens, with a small but significant collection of
lower plants, such as marine algae, mosses and liverworts
and a small collection of micro fungi. A study of lichen
biodiversity in T&T is in progress to determine its
importance in monitoring the state of the environment and
climate change.
The core of the holdings is a collection of about 50,000
accessions built up since 1842. Its staff has identified
over 20,000 plant specimens and added over 20,000 new
accessions which are recorded in Accession books, the
first volume begun in 1887 by the Herbarium's founder,
John H. Hart. There are now over 70,000 specimens in the
Herbarium's collection; about a third of them have already
been digitised as part of an ongoing project for the entire
Surveying and inventory work have been going on for
a few years to collect and identify the flora on both islands
as part of a project to develop a Biodiversity Monitoring
System for Trinidad and Tobago.

The core of the holdings
is a collection of about
50,000 accessions
built up since 1842.
Its staff has identified
over 20,000 plant
specimens and added
over 20,000 new
accessions which are
recorded in Accession
books, the first volume
begun in 1887 by the
Herbarium's founder,
John H. Hart.

The Home of Botany


I [IrhiaritLIum

The House

of Cocoa


In 1930, cocoa research was initiated under the
Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, and since
then, Trinidad and Tobago has been seen as a source
of new cocoa production technology. In 1955, the
Regional Research Centre was specially established
to devote more time to improving cocoa production.
The research scheme continued uninterrupted until
1963 when the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU) at The
UWI was established. In the intervening years, major
studies were conducted on agronomy, breeding
and genetics, nutrition, propagation, screening
for Witches' Broom and wilt diseases, physiology,
and fermentation, among other areas. The results
of the various research activities at CRU are well
documented and have been of enormous value to
cocoa researchers worldwide.
CRU manages one of the largest (2300
accessions) and most diverse collections of cacao
germplasm in the world, namely the International
Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad (ICG,T) at Centeno,
Trinidad. The ICG,T contains primary germplasm
from nine collection expeditions that aimed to
obtain wild material from six countries including
Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, regarded as the
centre of diversity for cocoa. It is one of only two
international depositories of cacao germplasm in
the world that are in the public domain. CRU has
maintained to date a multi-disciplinary research
programme in conservation, characterisation,
evaluation and utilisation (germplasm enhancement)
of cacao genetic resources. Promising genotypes,
which combine good yield potential with resistance
to Black Pod and Witches' Broom diseases, have
been developed under germplasm enhancement
programmes at the CRU. The enhanced populations
can be used by plant breeders in Trinidad and Tobago
and other cocoa producing countries as a source of
resistance genes towards developing locally adapted
commercial cacao varieties. This will negate the need
for heavy use of fungicides that are expensive, may
pose risks to human health and are often deleterious
for the environment, and will thus facilitate more
sustainable cocoa production systems.
Utilisation of the genetic resources conserved
in the ICG,T benefits the local and international
cocoa industries. CRU's research activities are
currently funded by the Government of Trinidad and
Tobago and international partners, and are mainly
collaborative in nature. The ICG,T is a national and
international natural heritage collection, and The
UWI, CRU is privileged to be involved with its


The University of the West Indies is taking the reins in the global movement to preserve our environment by establishing and
funding environmentally focused programmes and research to help educate our society on the bounty of natural resources
at our doorstep. Serah Acham speaks with three UWI students who have turned their postgraduate research projects into a
bid to preserve the wildlife of our twin-island nation.

Kerrie Naranjit

Tell us about your project.
My project assesses the phenology of the Trinidad
Piping Guan (Pawi). Phenology is the study of plant and
animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by
seasonal variations. The Pawi is a large forest bird endemic
to Trinidad (found only here) and it's critically endangered,
with less than 200 left in the world. They've become
endangered because of hunting and habitat loss. It's illegal
to hunt them, but it has been going on.
My project is basically looking at the ecology of the
bird so that we can learn more about it to develop better
management plans for the species.
Although there've been other projects on it before,
they're usually short-term, so this is pretty much the longest
project on a single population of birds. I've done more than
two years' field work at Grande Riviere and Morne Bleu.
Those are two sites where they're regularly seen.
My fieldwork included field studies where I would
go out there every morning they're most active in the
morning, so I did most of my observations from sunrise,
about half-five, to about nine o'clock. If I did see them, I'd
observe their activities whether they're feeding or preening
or anything like that what they're feeding on, where they
are in the area, if there are any preferences for parts of the
habitat, how they interact with each other, how they interact
with other species and stuff like that. What I'm doing right
now is analyzing that data so that if we get a better idea of
what their behavior is like and of their habitat use, we can put
good management strategies in place for them, because it's
really important right now to increase their population.

Why did you choose this topic?
When I was looking for my M Phil project, the EMA
(Environmental Management Authority) decided to fund
several Environmentally Sensitive Species projects, so
there was funding available for it. I also did my undergrad
project on the Pawi in Grande Rivere and enjoyed it. So it
seemed a logical choice. I was financially supported by the
World Pheasant Association and the Pawi Study Group,
which is a local group that deals with conservation of this
one species.

How has your personal experience been
working on this project?
Well I've always been a field person, so it was the ideal
project for me in some senses. But there are always the
difficulties of having to get up early in the morning, climb a
hill before sunrise in whatever weather, with insects around,
when you may or may not see what you're looking for. I have
been exposed to a lot of things that a lot of people don't get
to see, just from working out there, a lot of birds and other
animals that are in the forest, and working with community
members who are trying to make the most of the situation.
The same people who might have hunted them in the past,
are actually trying to build up eco-tourism.
I lived in Grande Riviere, a rural village on the North
coast of Trinidad, for most of the project. I came home every
other week. I lived in an interesting house. My bedroom was
part of the living room and we had chickens living inside
and stuff like that. But it was a very, very safe place to live.
The villagers are very friendly, so I felt comfortable.
The difficulty is when you're actually all byyourself and
you have to go up there and sit down and look and wait.
You learn to be patient. You find ways to occupy your time.

Sometimes you don't see them (the Pawi) at all for days. I
came across snakes and other forest creatures. I actually
came across a Mapepire (a poisonous snake) practically
on my shoe because I walked into it without noticing and
luckily just happened to stop. I was looking for something,
or listening for a sound, and then I looked down and the
Mapepire was right on the edge of my shoe, so I just stepped
back. It was a small one, but you do get bigger snakes as
well. I never got close to bigger ones really ... well that I
knew of.

What did you like most about working on
your project?
Being outside. I learnt a lot about my birds. I enjoyed
that a lot. I did a lot of photography up there. I actually do
photography now that kinda grew out of being out there. I
was always interested in photography, but I didn't really start
anything professionally until I got up there. I also got a lot
of practice and experience with the project itself. You have
to take pictures of every Pawi that you see pretty much.
I think the experience also increased my sense of
responsibly for conservation and environmental issues.
Working with a rare and endangered species is unique and
rewarding. The people I worked with, both in the field and
out, have helped build me into who I am proud to be today
and I hope to continue working with them to rescue this
valuable species, and to encourage personal involvement in
conservation and environmental issues in as many people
as possible.





Tell us about your project.
I've been studying two species of sea turtles that we
have locally Greens and Hawksbills. They live close to
shore, feeding on the reefs and sea grass bed habitats that we
have around Tobago. I've been doing my Master's research
studying their distribution on reefs around the island, as
well as their abundance, so how many of them there are in
one location compared to another. I've also been collecting
some samples to study their genetics comparing them with
nesting populations and other foraging aggregations around
the Caribbean. I've also been looking at their value to the
economy through fishing, because fishermen still capture
turtles for sale for their meat, and I've been comparing that
with their value to scuba divers because scuba diving is a
growing industry in Tobago and turtles are a very popular
thing to see to a diver.

Why did you choose this topic?
I wanted to continue with research after doing my
undergraduate research project I really enjoyed that. I
was hoping to find something marine oriented and maybe
I could tie in scuba diving. I also wanted something that
I thought would be important for Trinidad and Tobago,

especially conservation oriented, and I know that sea turtles
have hardly been studied locally, besides nesting beaches.
A lot of work gets done on leatherbacks on the nesting
beaches here but those are turtles that come here every three
years, nest and leave each after only spending a couple
of months in our waters. The green and hawksbill turtles
we have are here year round, living around both islands and
they're subject to the local fishery.

How has your personal experience been
working on this project?
For about a year and a half I was living in Tobago and
just coming back to Trinidad for short breaks in between.
I love to scuba dive and that was a big part of my method.
In order to estimate the distribution and abundance of the
animals, I would scuba dive at locations scattered around
the island with the help of local dive shops and I was able to
log over 200 dives doing that and it's something I love.
I loved being in the water, being able to observe turtles
as well as other animals and interact with them. I also got to
meet a lot of great people in Tobago. The local dive masters
who work at the dive shops helped me out a lot. I was also
able to help educate them about turtles and they like to learn
about it so that they can teach their customers. I was also
able to talk with a lot of visiting scuba divers. We get a lot of
divers, both from America and Europe, so I would interact
with them, interview them for my survey.

What did you like most about working on
your project?
Scuba diving and being able to handle the turtles. In
order to get the tissue samples for the genetic study, I would
have to capture them. I was also tagging them so I could
see, if I recaptured them, if they had changed location. That
gave the divers who were on the boat chance to interact
and learn more about the turtles as well. I tagged over 50
turtles mostly medium-sized to small ones, but a few
adult-sized ones that were quite big and required help to
get on the boat.
I'm glad I was able to be involved in this it's the first
time that we've done any studies of these turtles. I think it's
very important work that needed to be done because turtles
are a shared resource really. They don't live here all the
time. They move hundreds, thousands of kilometres across
the Caribbean Basin. So having an open fishery here for
example, we're not just affecting our stocks of turtles. We're
depleting stocks of turtles from other locations where they
might be trying to protect them. It makes no sense for each
country to be managing the turtles differently. We need to
have a regional management programme, otherwise the
work at one location is not going to do much. We have to
protect them everywhere that they're found.

Lee Ann Beddoe

Tell us about your project.
Overall, what we're doing is looking at a methodology
for restoring coral reefs, because they're degrading due to
anthropogenic (man-made) and natural causes. We're trying
to find the fastest method for reversing this deterioration,
and what we're using is electrolytic mineral accretion using
low Direct Current (DC), to enhance the growth of the
Our experimental site was based in a man-made bay
in Tobago Coconut Bay. We were using electricity from
a dive shop and it was converting the household electricity
(AC) to DC before charging the corals. This incorporated
physics so the Physics Electronics Workshop helped us with
that configuration. And using cables, we ran the electricity
to the experimental site.
We needed a species of coral that was fast growing, but
not endangered, so we used fire coral, also called 1/i'ep, 'ii
alcicornis. We ran electricity to 40 individual pieces and
had 40 pieces which acted as the control and received no
electricity. We compared the growth changes every two
weeks for 1 year.
We then used a Scanning Electron Microscope and X-
Ray Diffractometer, through the Physics Department. So we
had photos showing the skeletal structure of the coral that
received electricity vs. the control, as well as the chemical
analysis. At the end of the experiment we crushed different
aspects of the coral to determine the composition, and we
found that it was very similar to the natural growing coral.
That's good because Buccoo Reef is a major tourist attraction
and everybody depends upon reefs for the goods and
services they offer, like fishing, scuba diving and tourism.
That's good in terms of having a regional impact as well.

Why did you choose this topic?
I wanted to do a research project that wasn't just going
to collect baseline data and sit on a shelf. I wanted to do
something applicable to protecting the environment. So
Prof Agard [John Agard, Head of The UWI Department
of Life Sciences] suggested exploring the idea of mineral

What I liked about the project was that it pulled from
different disciplines, even chemistry.

How has your personal experience been
working on this project?
When I started the project I thought "ok, I'm going to
do research that would help the environment." I didn't take
into consideration the social aspect, but being in Tobago
I have learnt about it. Tobagonians take a lot of pride in
their environment and conserving it they depend on
their natural resources for tourism etc. They're very, very
cooperative when it comes to doing research that could help
preserve their resources, so I learnt about the people who
actually use these resources and how much they depend
upon them to feed their families. It inspired me to further
my research in the Marine field, but more so Environmental
There's also the educational aspect because I got to
teach people about different things and why we need to do
this. Tourists especially were very interested and they were
pleased that people were doing research like this.
I was a demonstrator and teaching assistant for a Marine
Ecology course in the department and I asked students from
that class to come and help me with my project. They learnt
the technique of buoyant weighing and measuring corals,
how to handle certain coral species with care and some of
them actually learnt to scuba dive. I also advanced my scuba
diving and learnt about coral species. I learnt new things
from Physics. It was an exchange of knowledge.
I went to the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences to
do some training a Coral Reef Ecology course for three
weeks. I got a partial scholarship and UWI provided the
rest of the funds to travel, and it was fantastic. I met other
students doing research in the marine environment and
networked with other marine scientists.

It sounds like fun.
Oh definitely! I have pictures of creatures that are on my
research. A sea horse came and he actually started living on
it (the experimental site), so it was good for the dive shop
because when they teach their beginner divers, they take
them on the experiment site and they would see the sea
horse. We call him Sea Biscuit. We also had squid, starfish,
several species of reef fish and a moray eel that would come
to visit from time to time.



Farmers at School


qwmR~, ia.ri.- ' W ,HI i JEr U -%. A oW" _,- -
Crop inspection at the Caura Valley Farmers Field School.

The Farmer Field School (FFS) is an open learning
environment in which farmers school themselves in
integrated pest management techniques for agricultural food
production. Farmers seek to understand the environment
in which crops are cultivated in order to find natural pest
enemies, alternative and cheaper fertilizer applications and
techniques which do not harm the environment, while
producing healthier food for consumers.
Field Schools occur during the life of the crop. The
farmers choose a central location within their community
to set up cultivation. The site could be under a mango tree,
under a shed on the farm, a rehabilitated harvest site, etc.
They would meet on this plot at agreed times throughout
the crop's cultivation.
Then comes the big learning bash. Which pests exist?
Do these pests face other pests that may easily eat and
destroy them? What alternatives are there to expensive
and harmful pesticides? Can one use compost as a natural
fertilizer? Which crop variety is really better?

Classroom session at the Caura Valley Farmer Field School

As with all school environments, the farmers get
a chance to share fellowship, mingle with agricultural
scientists, extension officers and other stakeholders. They
catch up on happenings in the neighbourhood. It's like
making happy school days all over again. Farmers in
the Caribbean are eagerly engaging this technique and
they always look forward to receiving their certificates of
participation at the end.
These schools first began among small rice farmers in
South East Asia approximately twenty years ago. Although
the Asian region is still responsible for a high percentage
of school graduates, there is more widespread adoption
of this teaching technique among other small producers
worldwide, even livestock producers. Since arriving in the
Caribbean in 2000, 40 schools have been conducted in
Dominica, St Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad.
I became involved when CAB International and the
Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) invited The
UWI to partake in the first field school in the Aranguez
vegetable growing area just outside of Port of Spain. This
was a great way to help farmers become masters of their
own science as it was an opportunity to empower those with
a feel for scientific exploration to break down the barriers
between scientists and farmers, males and females and even
consumers and producers.
Ten years hence, this effort rethinks pesticide use
and tries to reduce the cost of food. The FFS is an exciting
new Extension methodology. Very often the Extension
agent cannot educate an entire client base, so a schooling
method which multiplies teaching capacity is a welcome
Hopefully the FFS concept will spread more widely
among the general citizenry. One could find a method
to school other gardeners, landscapists and hobbyists to
carefully observe their growing lots in order to understand
pest invasions and less harmful ways of controlling the
regulars which invade the garden. In the long term this
approach would be cheaper, healthier and contribute to a
more sustainable environment for future generations.

Dr David Dolly



DrDavidDolly, Lecturer in Agricultural Extension
in the Department of Agricultural Economics and
Extension and Deputy Dean Student Matters,
Faculty of Science and Agriculture, has been
awarded the Journal article of the year award
(2009) on behalf of the Journal of International
Agricultural and Extension Education (JIAEE).
The JIAEE is the official refereed publication of
the Association for International Agricultural and
Extension Education.
The association has worldwide membership
and seeks to serve as a catalyst in bringing the
collective expertise of agricultural and Extension
educators to bear on the problems of human
resource and agricultural development.
Dr Dolly's article is entitled, "An assessment
of the Implementation and Outcomes of Farmer
Field Schools to improve vegetable production in
Trinidad and Tobago."
Farmer Field Schools seekto build intelligence
capacity among food producers in developing
countries with regard to adopting technologies
for sustained ecological environments and healthy
pesticide-free food. The Food and Agricultural
Organization and other international bodies have
piloted this methodology worldwide.
Since its introduction, Trinidad and
Tobago conducted forty field schools. The UWI
participated in 'Training of trainers' exercises
to spread the FFS concept throughout the
Caribbean. The Ministry of Agriculture Land
and Marine Resources (now Food Production
Lands and Marine Affairs) supported these field
schools while staff at the Extension Training
and Information Services Division facilitated Dr
Dolly's involvement with the activities.
Other Caribbean countries have conducted
few schools. Studying the methodology in
Trinidad and Tobago is an important imperative
if the region is to ascertain its suitability as an
Extension methodology.
Dr Dolly's article highlights the initiatives
in Trinidad and Tobago and compares this
implementation with a major review of the
school's implementation throughout Africa.


David Dolly (PhD) is a Lecturer in Agricultural Extension and Deputy Dean (Student Matters)
Faculty of Science and Agriculture.



The Psychology Seminar Series is an initiative undertaken
by graduate students from the Behavioural Sciences
Department, Rosana Yearwood and Jannel Philip, supported
by supervisor, Dr. Derek Chadee, and lecturers of the
Psychology Unit. The series was designed to create a forum
for a meeting of minds in a space which generates healthy
debate. A key feature of the series is its flexible format,
which facilitates students' and presenters' particular needs or
agendas. It also prepares students for seminar presentations
in fulfillment of their MPhil or PhD requirements, by
offering a supportive environment, in which they can stand
and confidently respond to feedback.
In April 2010, the Psychology Seminar Series was
launched with two student presentations on the theme
Emotions and Cognition. MPhil candidate, Sideeka Ali,
raised methodological concerns, access to information
and direction to resources in order to facilitate data
collection. Her research in developmental psychology is
titled, "Emotion Experience and Emotional Regulation:
How Are They Related to Relationship Satisfaction across
Age and Gender?"
In keeping with the theme, PhD candidate Jannel
Philip presented theoretical arguments on the bidirectional
aspect of emotions/cognition relationship and the effects
on behaviour from a social psychological perspective.
Her presentation, "Feeling or Cognition? Cognitions and
Emotions as Predictors ofProsocial Behaviour," questioned
the role of emotions and cognition in predicting prosocial
behaviour. She suggested that both feelings and cognitions
have a significant impact on prosocial behaviour and the
prominence of one over the other depends on many social
psychological factors.
At the second seminar in May, visiting Professor
Joseph Khiston, a lifespan developmental psychologist at
the University of North Carolina Wilmington, spoke on
"Psychobiography" He began with a distinction between
traditional biography which is focused on telling the story
of a life, versus psychobiography which is about making
sense of a person's life. Psychobiography, he explained,
employs Erik Erikson's epigenetic principle which states
that we develop through a predetermined unfolding of
our personalities. Our progress through life is therefore
dependant on our successes and failures throughout our
developmental process, from childhood to adulthood. These
events coupled with our genetics give explanation to our life
events and make us who we are.
Professor Kishton further cited use of this principle
in Erickson's psychobiographies of key historical figures
such as Mahatma Gandhi (1969), Martin Luther (1958),
the protestant reformer, and even a fictional film character
Dr. Isak Borg, from Ingmar Bergman's film, Wild

Sideeka Ali's research in developmental psychology is titled, "Emo-
tion Experience and Emotional Regulation: How Are They Related to
Relationship Satisfaction across Age and Gender."

Strawberries. With video clips and excerpts from his work
on some personalities, Professor Kishton demonstrated the
application and usefulness of Psychobiography.
Among those who attended, a history student saw
relevance of this enlightening topic to the area of psycho
history by using the psychobiographical approach to examine
the narratives of African slaves in the Caribbean. Students
from the Liberal Arts Dept. noted that psychobiography
can be used to study cultural icons in Trinidad and Tobago.
Another student noted that while psychobiographical
sketches have been done here at the university, there was
no formal recognition that the work was psychobiography.
These insights gleaned from students of varying disciplines
demonstrate that there is a particular richness derived from
the cross fertilization of ideas, the meeting of minds from
diverse disciplines with varying perspectives.
In the academic year 2010-2011, topics at the
Psychology Seminar Series will range from research in
psychology, to career opportunities and perspectives on
further academic pursuits in psychology. Various approaches
will be used; some will be in the form of presentations by
students, lecturers and visiting professors as well as panel
discussions. Panelists willbe drawn from students, lecturers,
successful MPhil and PhD candidates and also from among
psychologists. Students and staff are invited to attend and


Jannel Philip spoke on "Feeling or Cognition? Cognitions and Emo-
tions as Predictors of Prosocial Behaviour."

Visiting Professor Joseph Khiston, a lifespan developmental psy-
chologist at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, spoke on


Vice Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, Professor E Nigel Harris, delivered the
annual Eric Williams Memorial Lecture on July 9, 2010. The lecture, "Haiti and its many crises
and its place in the Caribbean," covered the historical journey of Haiti and looked at ways to
help rebuild the country. This is an edited excerpt of his address.

As tragic as the Haitian earthquake has been, its occurrence
has created an opportunity for Haiti, for the world, for the
nations of CARICOM and countries in the Caribbean basin.
CARICOM has an opportunity to play a special role in this
global constellation, because it is we who first opened our
arms to Haiti and it is with us that Haiti has so much in
common. This is a moment of transformation and the leaders
of Haiti and many members of the international community
are talking, not about reconstructing what existed, but of
a "Re-founding" of the country. This means fashioning a
new country with stable democratic government, orderly
systems of administration that can deliver services to all
Haiti's people with assistance from, but not dominated
by NGOs; of government authority distributed across the
country rather than concentrated in the capital; of a thriving,
sustainable economy; reliable management of water and
waste; of buildings erected to withstand the forces of nature

in better planned communities; of an effective and accessible
system of health care; of a well designed, high-standard
education system from primary through secondary to
tertiary education that provides the knowledge, skills and
attributes to drive transformation and social and economic
In the months since the earthquake, the leaders of Haiti
in concert with the international community have finalised
an Action Plan for National Recovery and Development
and identified priority areas for action. With promised
funding support from the international community,
this plan is designed to provide sustainable social and
economic development through reconstruction, investment,
employment and income generation. The international
community has pledged $5.3 billion over the next two years
to transform Haiti into a modern state.
What role must CARICOM play? We cannot provide
much in the way of funds, but our historic relationship to

Haiti and our geographic proximity puts us in a significant
position to provide technical and professional support. ...
Assistance can be provided in areas of legislation, tax
reform and establishment of a system that enables provision
of land titles. CARICOM personnel from the public and
private sectors can go to Haiti on secondment and Haitian
personnel can come to our countries for training. These
are steps that can be made by involvement of all countries
and institutions of CARICOM, including academic
We need to forge a triangular relationship: funds and
material support from the North, provision of technical
and professional support from CARICOM nations and the
implementation of the Recovery Plan guided by Haitian
leadership. While the press and people remain sceptical
about the progress being made by CARICOM towards
a Caribbean Single Market and Economy, insufficient
attention has been paid to good progress in terms of



functional cooperation reflected in commonly shared
institutions such as The University of the West Indies, the
Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), the Caribbean
Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), the
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), The Caribbean
Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA),
and more. By linking with Haiti in areas of business,
particularly in the fields of reconstruction, agriculture
and light manufacturing-areas targeted to jump-start
the Haitian economy-and by drawing Haiti into the
CARICOM network of education, health, tourism, disaster
risk reduction and environmental protection, all elements
of functional cooperation, Haiti will benefit and it is likely
CARICOM, if it positions itself correctly, can also benefit.
Indeed, if we were to be truly ambitious, we can envision
a functionally cooperative and an integrated economic
community much larger than CARICOM and Haiti, to
include the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico
and other islands in the Caribbean basin.
The University of the West Indies too sees the
earthquake in Haiti as a moment of opportunity. Within a
week of the tragedy, our leaders met and began constructing
short and long term plans. In the short term, staff and
students engaged in collection drives of food, clothing,
personal hygiene products and other such items. Bank
accounts were opened on all Campuses and funds deposited
will be used towards assisting students in need.
Our academic community on all campuses, including
the Open Campus, held symposia, talks and wrote articles
in the media aimed at sensitising and educating the general
public and our internal community. This was meant to
inform people about the current situation in Haiti and to
tell the story of its vibrant history and culture.
Drawing on a database of expertise that our University
has constructed to identify academic and non-academic staff
who can respond to disasters, two civil engineers from the
Faculty of Engineering in Trinidad, Dr. Derek Gay and Dr.
Richard Clarke, went to Haiti as members of the CDEMA
Team. Some medical personnel were also deployed to Haiti.
Prior to the earthquake, Dr. Assad Mohammed had been
working on urban planning projects in Haiti and Professor
John Agard on a reforestation project.
In truth, we see ourselves as playing a more sustained
role in the Haiti re-founding effort. In March 2010, we
seized the moment to convene a meeting of UNICA,
the Association of Caribbean Universities and Research
Institutes, encompassing universities from the Spanish,
French and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. Rectors of four of
the universities in Haiti were invited to report on the effects
of the devastating earthquake on their institutions, which
wiped out 90% of the university infrastructure, killed about
40 academics and over 200 students, some of whom were
buried in the buildings in which classes were being held.
The UNICA meeting was asked to begin discussions on
how Caribbean universities might help in the re-founding
of the Haitian tertiary education sector. We hope we can
rally Caribbean universities to provide advocacy with their
Governments for sustained help for Haiti and that these
universities, some bigger and better endowed than we are,
can provide, places for students both undergraduate and
graduate, provision of academics and provision of expertise
in the broader recovery effort.
To lead the way, UWI stepped up to the plate. The Mona
Campus offered 100 places, Cave Hill 25 and St. Augustine
75, and based on the wishes of our Haitian counterparts,
places were offered to final-year students. For a number
of reasons, including insufficient fluency in English, an
unwillingness of some students to leave their families at this
time and logistics, we shall fall short of the 200 for which
we were aiming, but we have started something that can

"I make a plea to

our governments,

private sector and

civic leaders in the

Caribbean to partner

with us in helping to

fund the housing and

living requirements

of these students.

We need to raise at

least US$1 million

to house even the

present students we

shall admit."

continue in the future, since we can assist too in graduate
education and collaborative research which is not evident in
Haiti at this time. I make a plea to our governments, private
sector and civic leaders in the Caribbean to partner with
us in helping to fund the housing and living requirements
of these students. We need to raise at least US$1 million
to house even the present students we shall admit. Some
countries of the Caribbean have visited enormous cuts in
funding on UWI. Despite this, we believe it is our fraternal
duty as a Caribbean institution to assist in whatever practical
ways we can in the re-founding of Haiti. However, we cannot
do it all and it is for this reason we issue a public appeal to
institutions and persons willing to assist in helping to fund
living expenses, books and travel for these young people
from Haiti.
In addition to admitting students to our Campuses,
we are also working on a project that will provide courses
by distance to Haitians through the Open Campus. These
programmes are expected to utilize both Haitian and
UWI academics to construct appropriate and culturally
specific programmes in areas such as teacher education,
justice and security. In the area of teacher education, the
project will adopt a two-tiered approach. Initially, it will
focus on teachers whose training was interrupted by the
earthquake, and then attention will be paid to training
primary and secondary untrained teachers, teacher trainers
and university faculty. I thank Dr Glenford Howe of the
Open Campus for preparing this proposal, which we have
submitted to one multilateral agency so far. There is also a
proposal that has received some initial funding to revive a
training programme in Urban and Settlements Planning in
Haiti. Dr Assad Mohammed of St. Augustine is leading this
effort. As you can imagine, in reconstructing Port-au-Prince
and other damaged areas, urban and settlement planning
is a vital requirement.
Recognising that language is one of the most important
barriers between Haiti and the Anglophone Caribbean,
The UWI, the State University of Haiti, the University of
Quisqueya and the University of Havana in Cuba have
recently proposed the creation of an Institute of Languages
and Translation for teaching of English, French, Spanish
and Creole. This initiative will be expected to link with our
Institute of Language Studies at St. Augustine and other
similar units at Mona and Cave Hill. If this tragedy does
nothing else for us in the Anglophone Caribbean, let it
make us become resolute in our insistence that every school
child at the primary level and by the secondary level should
become fluent in at least one other language-Spanish or
French-but preferably both. This may wellbe an opportunity
for exchange between Spanish, French, Dutch and the
Anglophone Caribbean of young people who can teach their
language to countries speaking other languages. ...
In relation to the activities of The University of the
West Indies, let me state what so many of our people do not
seem to see about The UWI. We are not only an institution
that grants undergraduate degrees, we are a full-service
entity able to impart knowledge and skills not only at the
undergraduate level but also at the graduate and post-
doctoral levels in broad areas relevant to Caribbean self-
knowledge, growth and development. We are also committed
and able to create new knowledge that can drive national
and regional development, and through outreach, we can
assist in providing the sort of broad-based, meaningful and
sustained support for policy making and planning of our
public and private sectors, and we can respond in varying
ways to a situation such as that of Haiti.
I believe that no other institution in the Anglophone
Caribbean has the capacity to contribute in such broad




Find us on:

Wednesday 1 to Monday 6 Septembei, 2010
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Thui sday 7 and Fiiday 80ctobei, 2010
UWI, St Augustine, Tinidad

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Wednesday 24th to Fiiday 26th rsovemlei, 2010
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Wednesday 6 Octobei, 2010
UWI, St Augustine, Ti inidad

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Thtisday 16 to Satuiday 18 Septembei, 2010
UWI, St Augustine, T inidad

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Saturday 18 to Suinday 19 Septembei, 2010
UWI,St Aiugustine, Tinidad

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