The following statement is issued by the Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.
As The University of the West Indies (The UWI) stands in active solidarity with the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, urging them to remain defiant in the fury of La Soufrière, it also continues to reach out to Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley as he battles with that other subversive force of nature, COVID-19.
Indeed, by linking these narratives we also pay tribute to Prime Minister Rowley, who before his advanced political career served as a lead scientist at The UWI Seismic Research Centre. It might not be generally known that during the 1979 eruption of the volcano, Dr Rowley was a lead investigator on the ground in Saint Vincent, providing policy advice to the government in respect of disaster management and other relevant security measures. The UWI, then, would have created the inescapable context for Prime Ministers Dr Gonsalves and Dr Rowley to be joined by the hip in the ballad of La Soufrière.
Both brilliant graduates of the Mona Campus, the former became a distinguished social scientist at Cave Hill, before returning home for politics, while the latter also gave up a distinguished career at St Augustine for public leadership. History is filled with many examples of universities creating such alumni co-joining.
I am in contact with both leaders and I have informed them that their alma mater stands with them, our two distinguished graduates and former scholars, as they fight the good fight.
We wish for Prime Minister Dr Rowley the restoration of good health and for Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves his resilience and energy building of his nation. The UWI’s Medical Sciences and Natural Sciences are alongside them in the trenches. This is what they deserve and would expect.