News Releases

Republic Bank Decibel steps up to support UWI student scholarships

For Release Upon Receipt - August 28, 2020


The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica, Friday, August 28, 2020—Organisers of the annual Decibel Arts & Entertainment Festival (DEF) based in Trinidad and Tobago have stepped up to support students of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) across the region who have been functioning in difficult social circumstances because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s festival, DEF 2020, which has taken a socially distanced and virtual format because of the pandemic, has already raised TT$35,000 from a drive-in cinema fundraiser held in Trinidad and Tobago in July. The next scheduled DEF 2020 event is a creative initiative called Hands that Help, which will be televised live on August 29 on CBC-TV 8 in Barbados and CCNTV6 in Trinidad and Tobago and streamed on

Following Decibel’s mandate of promoting all things creative, the upcoming DEF 2020 Hands that Help Benefit concert is expected to be an exciting production bringing together artistes, actors, filmmakers, producers and more. Students from The UWI’s Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the St. Augustine Campus; the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the Mona Campus and the new Faculty of Culture, Creative and Performing Arts at the Cave Hill Campus will also be among the cast for the one-hour event. A key feature of Hands that Help is a pledge campaign inviting viewers to give a gift online towards scholarships for UWI students in need.

Speaking on the partnership with The UWI, Simon Baptiste, CEO of Question Mark Entertainment and Decibel’s lead organiser said, “Our festival and mission of working with youth and preparing them for the future made this partnership an ideal fit. We’ve had many students who attended past DEF events go on to study at The UWI and hope to continue to nurture this segment through other developmental programmes in the creative industry. So we’re really excited about this project and the opportunity to raise funds to help at a time like this.”

An estimated 10,000 of The UWI’s current population of 50,000 students have been impacted by COVID-19, with some contemplating ‘sitting out’ the upcoming academic year. This partnership with Decibel is welcomed by The UWI as the regional academy reaffirms its commitment to access, ensuring that no student is left behind at a time when education matters. It comes during The UWI’s month-long, Global Giving campaign which is focused specifically on fundraising for student scholarships this year.

Minna Israel, Special Advisor to The UWI Vice-Chancellor on Resource Development and Chair of The UWI Global Giving Committee stated, “We’re extremely pleased by Decibel’s outreach. Their commitment to investing in Caribbean youth, especially during this time is valued by The UWI. The staging of these two fundraising events with the collaboration of private sector partners is a true example of the type of community support needed to build and nurture a culture of philanthropy and aligns with our Global Giving programme.”

Interested persons seeking more on the DEF 2020 Hands that Help broadcast event and how to support Caribbean students through The UWI Global Giving, can visit and



About UWI Global Giving

UWI Global Giving is a key fundraising initiative at The University of the West Indies (The UWI), aimed at raising awareness of the Caribbean region’s history and the role of education, as well as building a culture of philanthropy towards regional development. Throughout August, the crowdfunding campaign encourages persons to give small contributions to the University—as little as US$10 online via The collective proceeds will fund scholarships and bursaries for students in need as The UWI’s new academic year and classes are set to resume at the end of the month.


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, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean 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; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow. 

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, 2019 and 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit

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