News Releases

UWI mourns the passing of Makandal Daaga

For Release Upon Receipt - August 11, 2016

St. Augustine

one of the most influential people in Trinidad politics and the Black Power movement


ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. August 10, 2016 – The University of the West Indies mourns the passing of one of its own, Makandal Daaga, on August 8, 2016. Known to many as the former political leader of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC), Dagaa was also a pivotal leader of the 1970 Black Power Revolution.

Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Copeland commented on Daaga’s contribution to changing the social landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, adding that Daaga’s activism affected him “in no small way”. Elaborating, Principal Copeland stated “The Black Power movement he led instilled in me a sense of awareness and pride. This was invaluable in dealing with the challenges I faced when I took up studies in Canada and later in USA. I faced overt and covert racism in both cases, but neither diminished my confidence that I could meet the academic challenges.   Here at home, I recall the very rapid changes that occurred following the Black Power Revolution of 1970. In particular, I saw the complexion of workers in the banks change almost overnight. The contribution of Mr. Daaga and his colleagues has never been recognised by the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Many citizens who were born after 1970 are generally unaware of the revolution and its impact. Perhaps his departure would create an opportunity for this wrong to be corrected”.

On Makandal Daaga’s legacy with The UWI, the Campus Principal shed light on the often erroneous association Makandal Daaga’s name has with The UWI St. Augustine’s Daaga Hall: “Most think that Makandal Daaga took his African name from Daaga Hall. Some think that the Hall was named after him. In fact, in both cases the name was taken from the slave revolt leader Daaga who led an unsuccessful armed slave revolt in St Joseph in 1837”. Daaga Hall was originally a recreation centre for students of The University and served as the old Guild Hall. In 2004 it was redesigned and renamed Daaga Auditorium, with the addition of a lecture theatre.

Members of The UWI community share in expressing their condolences to the family of Makandal Daaga and to all those whose lives were made better by this great son of the Trinidad and Tobago soil.


About The UWI


Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


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