News Releases

UWI experts called on to map Trinidad and Tobago's post COVID-19 recovery

For Release Upon Receipt - April 17, 2020

St. Augustine

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Dr. Keith Rowley has called on experts from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) to join a Cabinet-appointed ‘Post COVID-19 Road Map to Recovery’ team.  The team’s sole responsibility is to compile a draft national post COVID-19 road map by April 30 and submit a complete proposal by May 31. The team was announced yesterday, April 16, at the Post-Cabinet press briefing.

Prime Minister Rowley, a UWI alumnus and former Geologist at The UWI Seismic Research Centre, chairs the 22-member team. It comprises current and former ministers of finance, captains of industry, financial experts in the banking sector, as well as leaders in the trade union movement and civil society. The membership bears strong connection with The UWI including Chancellor Robert Bermudez; Professors of Practice Gerry Brooks (co-Chair) and Winston Dookeran along with Karl Theodore, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Centre for Health Economics; and other distinguished alumni and current and former adjunct members of staff.

Chancellor Bermudez expressed, “I am pleased to be able to serve and contribute towards what needs to be a national effort to repair the damage done to the economy and alleviate the hardships being experienced by so many.”

Commenting on the announcement, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said, “My views are in full support of Prime Minister Rowley's thesis to CARICOM two days ago, himself a UWI trained scientist, that in pursuit of post COVID-19 development we must be guided first and foremost by the science of the circumstance.” He added, “This is a crisis like no other. It demands an economically-sound and socially-just strategy rooted in science and data propelled by the solidarity of regional unity. Universities are built and resourced to serve their communities and nations, so times like these draw precisely on our academy’s purpose as we focus on the sustainability of our Caribbean economies and people. Dr Rowley, just like all our regional leaders, has The UWI’s full support. We are here to serve.”

The UWI also triggered its own quick response, launching a UWI COVID-19 Task Force in February to leverage the University's knowledge and expertise to assist the Caribbean in its readiness and response to the virus outbreak. The UWI Task Force comprises multi-discipline specialists including scientists, researchers, and public health professionals with combined expertise in virology, epidemiology, laboratory diagnostics, health leadership, psychology, psychiatry, critical care, respiratory medicine, pulmonology, veterinary medicine, tourism, trade, international relations, ethics, advocacy and communication.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI St. Augustine Professor Brian Copeland noted that, in a practical way too, the Campus has already been active in the national fight. “Our latest initiative has been to manufacture ventilators and other medical equipment using the expertise in the Faculty of Engineering while our incoming cohort of nurses, pursuing the Post Registration Diploma in Health Visiting, is assisting in the critical contact tracing,” he said.

The St. Augustine Campus COVID-19 website, as well as the UWI COVID-19 Task Force website at are regularly updated with useful resources, advisories and key information on the evolving pandemic.




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About The UWI

For more than 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI 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 across five campuses: Cave Hill in Barbados; Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda; Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago; and an Open Campus. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018 and 2019. The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.

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. For more, visit

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