News Releases

Reflecting on “Capitol Wednesday” A Call to The UWI St. Augustine 2020 Graduating Class

For Release Upon Receipt - January 11, 2021

St. Augustine

Monday 11th January 2020. The following statement is issued by Pro-Vice Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI St. Augustine, Professor Brian Copeland on the occasion of the UWI St. Augustine Graduation Ceremonies. 

After the events of last week, and I speak here of what many are calling “Capitol Wednesday”, I am moved to make some very brief comments with our UWI Graduating Class, who we celebrate this week, and the wider national community. 

You are graduates of The UWI in a truly historic time. You came through even as the long drought of a recession came to the fore in the years preceding the pandemic and continues to this day. You persevered in continuing your studies during the lockdown, even as staff and student alike struggled to engage in teaching and learning online. It seems to me, that you have the mettle of the kind of citizen our nations need at this point in time. Indeed, your participation in the online delivery makes you pioneers for a new UWI – a target that we have been shaping for all the years of my tenure as Campus Principal. 

As graduates of The UWI, you are beneficiaries of a public spend that covered some 80% of what it costs to educate you. I repeat my plea to you to use your experience not just to develop yourself in your chosen careers but, even as you do so, that you do all you can to continue the fight of forming a society that better addresses the problems we face today. We cannot survive without land, air and water – yours is the collective challenge of addressing the critical issues to their preservation. 

Our society cannot survive without a robust economy – yours is the collective challenge of leading the creation of the network of net foreign exchange earning enterprises that will dominate our economic landscape. I have challenged you before to start doing so by 2034.  

Our society cannot survive if it implodes on itself because of an impossibly large income gap, runaway poverty, or even the level of bigotry and hatred we saw on display last Wednesday at the US Capitol. Yours is the challenge of fashioning a more emotionally mature and just society.  

In keeping with these sentiments, I share with you with a song that is very popular here in Trinidad and Tobago. While it is nationalistic in nature, I offer it as well to the non-Trinidad and Tobago citizens in our midst – to all Caribbea. 

I wish you all success and prosperity.  


God Bless Our Nation 

By Marjorie Padmore 


God bless our nation 

Of many varied races 

May we possess that common love 

That binds and makes us One. 

Let it be known around the World 

That we can boast of Unity 

And take a pride in Our Liberty. 


God bless our isles of tropic beauty rare 

Of flaming Poinciana 

And shady immortelle 

The warm and sparkling waters 

That beat upon our shores 

Beat out a tune that seem to tell 

We take a pride in Our Liberty. 


God bless our leaders 

Give them grace to guide 

Bestow on them thy judgement wise 

To rule our land aright 

To keep the flag of freedom high that we may sing most lustily 

We take a pride in Our Liberty. 






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”)