News Releases

Saint Lucian Prime Minister and Trini-born actress among six to be honoured at New York Fundraiser

For Release Upon Receipt - February 4, 2020


Saint Lucian Prime Minister, the Honourable Allen Chastanet and Trinidad and Tobago-born actress, Lorraine Toussaint will be among six persons honoured at the upcoming annual Legacy Awards Gala hosted by the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) on February 19. The Gala, to be held at the Pierre hotel in New York City, is now in its 23rd year.

This black tie event is The UWI’s major fundraising event in the United States. It brings together alumni and partners of The UWI to raise funds for scholarships for its students, while recognising the achievements of notable US and Caribbean personalities.

The Gala has become a ‘must attend’ for captains of the diaspora, counterparts and colleagues in North America and the Caribbean. Dr. The Honourable Harry Belafonte, OJ, OM. is patron of the Gala, and has served in this capacity since the Gala’s inception.

The 2020 AFUWI Gala awardees are:

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, The Honourable Allen Chastanet - the Legacy Award

Group Chief Executive Officer, JMMB, Keith Duncan - Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Business Leadership

55th Governor of New York State, David Paterson - the Pinnacle Award for Public Service Leadership

US actress, Lorraine Toussaint - the Bob Marley Award

Associate Professor and Dean at College of Charleston, Dr Godfrey Gibbison, - the Pelican Award

Managing Partner and Co-founder of BRP Companies, Meredith Marshall - the Vice-Chancellor’s Corporate Award

Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has hailed the AFUWI for “consistently honouring a fine group of individuals and organisations who are trailblazers within and outside of the Caribbean, that make us proud and continue the legacy of high achievement and accomplishment which benefit us all.”

Vice-Chancellor Beckles also noted, “The UWI recognises its responsibility to serve the 21st century needs of the Caribbean people and is thankful for the partnerships and relations—which combined with our innovative initiatives—are helping to build The UWI as a premier global brand”.

Throughout the year, AFUWI, which is headquartered in Manhattan, New York City partners with the University’s alumni, the Caribbean community in the USA, American foundations and corporations to raise funds for scholarships in addition to development projects and academic programmes at The UWI. It provides an average of 50 scholarships each year.

The AFUWI Annual Awards Gala 2020 begins with a reception at 6:00 pm, followed by the dinner programme and a dessert party from 7:00 pm, with an after party at 9:30 pm hosted by Gala Chair, Doug E Fresh. Individual tickets start at US$500 and must be reserved by/before February 18, 2020. Tickets for the after party only are available at US$100 per person and offers a two-hour full international open bar. To reserve or purchase tickets, and for further information, please call 1-212-759-9345 or visit


More about the Awardees

The Honourable Allen Chastanet

The Honourable Allen Chastanet is a businessman and politician who has been Prime Minister of Saint Lucia since June 2016. He previously served his country as Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation. Before he became Prime Minister he held the position of Managing Director of Coco Resorts and has had significant experience in the field of tourism, having also served as Saint Lucia’s Director of Tourism and a former President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association.

Keith Duncan

Keith Duncan is Group CEO of JMMB, Jamaica’s first money market broker which was established in 1992. Keith joined JMMBTT as Trading Manager in 1993, and in 2000 became its Deputy Managing Director. He was promoted to Group Chief Executive Officer in 2005 and has responsibility for overall performance and charting the strategic direction of the Group. Keith served as a Vice-President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica during the period 2012-2014 and continues to contribute to Jamaica through various roles including his membership on the Economic Programme and Oversight Committee (EPOC).

Lorraine Toussaint

Lorraine Toussaint is a renowned Trinidadian-American actress and producer. She is the holder of a SAG Award and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, among many other accolades. Toussaint has appeared in hits like the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black and the Academy Award-nominated film Selma. Among her many successful TV credits are recurring roles on popular shows such Law & Order, Ugly Betty, CSI: Crime Investigation, Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.

David Paterson

David Paterson is nationally recognized in the US as a leading advocate for the visually and physically impaired. He has enjoyed a successful political career and has made history as the first non-white Secretary of State in New York; the first African-American Vice-Chair of the National Democratic Party; and the first non-white legislative leader in New York. In 2004 he also became the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention, held in Boston, Massachusetts and in 2006 he was elected New York’s first African-American Lieutenant Governor.

Dr. Godfrey Gibbison

Jamaican-born, Dr. Godfrey Gibbison is an Associate Professor and Dean at the College of Charleston, South Carolina. He is also a former lecturer in economics at The University of the West Indies. Dr Gibbison has been a consultant with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to support the development of Jamaica. He has also established a comprehensive social security programme on the island aimed at households that are severely impoverished.

Meredith Marshall

Meredith Marshall is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BRP Companies, a New York-based real-estate firm that is at the forefront of affordable, mixed-income, and market-rate housing and commercial developments. From its modest beginning in 1998 as a local development company, the firm has successfully evolved into a vertically integrated organisation offering a full complement of development, construction, property management, and financial services.





A 501(c) (3) charitable organisation, the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) was established in 1956 to develop an endowment fund in the United States for The University of the West Indies (UWI). Today, its mission is to source and administer private donations, maximise philanthropic efforts, and develop strategic alliances with American corporations, foundations, alumni and other organisations, primarily to provide scholarships, support academic programmes and facilitate development projects at The UWI. The Foundation has more recently intensified its focus on supporting the University’s scholarship programme because of the urgent and increasing demand for financial aid from many in the student population who are talented, ambitious and determined to break the cycle of poverty, but face severe economic hardships. In addition, the Foundation also seeks to facilitate activities which promote the well-being and strengthening of the West Indian society through community service, research programmes and public service endeavours for the preservation/creation of a robust cultural and social legacy. Visit:


About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); the UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit