News Releases

Celebrating 50 years of Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language

For Release Upon Receipt - December 5, 2012

St. Augustine

There is a difference between Deaf and deaf, says Dr. Benjamin Braithwaite, UWI Lecturer in Linguistics, and he is prepared to explain it all at a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language to the nation. The University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine’s Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics commemorates the occasion with a seminar, titled ‘Celebrating 50 years of Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language’, on Wednesday 5th December, from 10am-1pm, at the School of Education Auditorium on the Campus.

Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language is the native language of T&T’s hearing impaired population, yet its implementation into important aspects of everyday life, such as access to education, justice and quality health care, is often overlooked. The result is that these individuals become systematically disadvantaged.   

This seminar aims to raise awareness of the existence and importance of Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language, as well as of the challenges its under-recognised status poses to the hearing impaired.

Feature speakers at this seminar include Dr. Benjamin Braithwaite, UWI Lecturer in Linguistics; Bryan Rodrigues, President of the Deaf Empowerment Organisation of Trinidad and Tobago; and Qushiba La Fleur, President of WeCare Deaf Support Network.

The event is free and all are invited.

For more information, contact Dr. Benjamin Braithwaite at


About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with 45 physical site locations across the region, serving 16 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Food & Agriculture, and Social Sciences.  

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)