News Releases

UWI St Augustine to confer four Honorary Degrees this week

For Release Upon Receipt - October 26, 2021

St. Augustine

The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago. Tuesday October 26, 2021 — Chief Medical Officer for Trinidad and Tobago Dr Roshan Parasram, along with Attorney Mrs. Lynette Seebaran-Suite, Entrepreneur/ Philanthropist Mr. Sieunarine Persad-Coosal and Musician/Educator Mr. Ray Anthony Holman are the distinguished recipients who will be conferred with honorary degrees from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine Campus in the coming days. The conferral will take place during the 2021 virtual Graduation Ceremonies this Thursday 28, Friday 29 and Saturday 30 October.

The honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) will be conferred on Mrs. Lynette Seebaran-Suite at the 4:00pm ceremony for the Faculties of Engineering and Law on Thursday 28 October. Mr. Sieunarine Persad-Coosal will receive the honorary LLD at the 10:00 am ceremony for the Faculty of Social Sciences on Friday 29 October. At the 10:00am ceremony for the Faculty of Humanities and Education on Saturday 30 October, Mr. Ray Anthony Holman will be awarded the honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt). That afternoon at the 4:00pm ceremony for the Faculty of Medical Sciences, Dr. Roshan A. Parasram will be conferred the honorary Doctor of Science (DSc). All the Honorary Graduands will be the Featured Speakers at their respective ceremonies.

As part of the customary recognition of the Honorary Graduands, the Alma Jordan Library at the Campus has mounted an exhibit featuring their mementos and memorabilia. For the first time this year, the display has been launched virtually, and is available online at Dr. Glenroy Taitt, Senior Librarian II and Head of the West Indiana and Special Collections Division of the Alma Jordan Library, described the display as “A rich insight into the vast life experiences of four distinguished citizens of Trinidad and Tobago”. The exhibit, which was launched last Thursday, October 21, will be accessible online until Saturday, 20 November.

For their outstanding contributions to regional and international development, this year, a total of 14 eminent persons will be presented honorary degrees at The UWI’s 2021 graduation ceremonies. Nominations from across The UWI’s five campuses were approved by the University Council, at its sitting on April 30, 2021. These 2021 graduands will join a list of over 450 honorary degree recipients conferred by the regional University since 1965.


About The UWI St. Augustine Honorary Graduands

Dr Roshan Parasram

Doctor of Science (DSc)

Dr Roshan Parasram is the Chief Medical Officer for Trinidad and Tobago, and a nationally known expert contributor to the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. His professional portfolio boasts deep involvements in the healthcare, environmental and medico-legal fields.

After obtaining his MBBS in 2002 at The UWI St. Augustine, he began his medical career as medical intern at the Couva, Freeport, Todd’s Road and Chaguanas health centres and then went on to being a primary health physician for the regional health authorities. As Chairman of the Tenders Evaluation Committee, he was charged with procurement for outfitting the new St Joseph Enhanced Health Centre, and then assigned as project lead to see the facility to structural completion for its May 2010 opening. During this time, he earned his Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London.

He also performed at the Insect Vector Control first as Registrar and then as Acting Specialist Medical Officer and commenced his ongoing chairmanship of the National Dengue Integrated Management Strategy.

As County Medical Officer of Health for St George East, Dr Parasram supervised all public health affairs in the district, including tuberculosis treatments at the Golden Grove Prison and the Immigration Detention Centre. Building on his experience as a primary health physician, he supervised medico-legal cases in the county, and worked with municipal corporations on environment management plans. In 2013, he credentialled himself further with a Certificate in Public Procurement Law and Practice from the Osgoode Institute at the University of York. A year later, he joined The UWI St Augustine’s Faculty of Medical Sciences as an Associate Lecturer in Public Health and Primary Care.

In 2017, he assumed the role of Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health. His lesser-known involvement includes chairmanship of the Drug Advisory Committee, the Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals Board, the Psychiatric Hospital Tribunal, and the Health Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness Committee, among others, and his directorship of the Board of the Environmental Management Authority of T&T.

Dr Parasram hobbies include playing cricket and table tennis, swims, or paints — acrylic on canvas primarily — and has done the latter well enough to earn fourth place at the 2015 Port-of-Spain General Hospital’s Art Gala. Guiding his journey is William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus’: “It matters not how strait the gate, / How charged with punishments the scroll, / I am the master of my fate, / I am the captain of my soul”.


Mrs Lynette Seebaran-Suite

Doctor of Laws (LLD)

Mrs. Lynette Seebaran- Suite serves as the Coordinator of the Trinidad and Tobago Family Law Association, and the Council of the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago, and a member of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago all while emphasizing fairness and public legal knowledge.

Throughout her academic journey she has attained great accomplishments transitioning from high school to studying law at the UWI Cave Hill Campus and Hugh Wooding Law school. After being called to the Bar in 1977 she worked at the Law Reform Commission which allowed her to gain experience and knowledge of Trinidad and Tobago’s written laws propelling her family law private practice. From there on, being appointed as Head of the Equal Opportunity Commission she and her team collaborated with numerous communities to address the issue of discrimination. Mrs. Seebaran-Suite worked together with the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, the Law Association, and the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice) to encourage revisions to the Domestic Violence Act to expand the definitions of violence and protections which led to the launch of the national consultation on and the promotion of a national policy on workplace sexual harassment in 2020.

Mrs. Seebaran-Suite is an active member of several associations championing women’s reproductive health and sexual rights, gender-based and domestic violence, LGBTI rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities. She has contributed significantly to public education efforts on laws covering divorce, families, the status of children, cohabitational relationships, and the distribution of estates. For her work, she was awarded the National Award for the Development of Women (Gold) in 2012.


Mr Sieunarine Persad Coosal

Doctor of Laws (LLD)

Mr. Sieunarine Persad Coosal is often described as ebullient, driven, sensitive to the human condition, action oriented, and aspirational - an inspiration for emerging business professionals.

His work in his family business Coosal’s began at a young age and since then has held several roles and ascended to various senior positions. After becoming Chairman and CEO in 1991, he developed the failing family business through restructuring and rebranding. Mr. Coosal then transformed the family business into the Coosal Group of Companies ensuring that the company is acknowledged as a model operation. Under his helm, Coosal’s has received several international and local awards, including the International Award for Best Performance from the Council of International Awards UL, President’s Awards in 2003 and 2005, and Commendation in 2014.

Mr. Coosal has also served on a Cabinet-appointed advisory committee for the quarrying and construction sector and in 2019, he was inducted into the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s Business Hall of Fame for his tenacity, innovativeness, and national-social responsibility. This expands to his community support through the provision of equipment and medical clinics during floods, and the execution of complementary road repairs and clean-up exercises nationwide.

In 2006, then President of Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago Sir Ellis Clarke invited him to join Habitat’s Advisory Board where he transformed the fundraising, project management and supervision capacities of the organization through his experience and personal generosity, making in-kind donations while championing for additional financial support for the group’s projects. He was awarded their Spirit of Humanity Award in 2017 and, in 2020, became Chairman of Habitat’s Capital Campaign Cabinet. His aim as chairman is to provide at least 3,000 homeless people with shelter during his tenure.


Mr Ray Holman

Doctor of Letters (DLitt)

Musician, educator, and holder of a Hummingbird Medal (Silver) Award, Mr. Ray Holman grew up surrounded by the pan yard of the ‘40s and ‘50s in his hometown where he started with Invaders Steel Orchestra in 1957 at 13 years old and composing his first original piece ‘Ray’s Saga’.

From 1963 onwards, Mr. Holman has been involved in several steel bands including Starlift Steelband, Phase II Pan Groove, Exodus, Skiffle Bunch, and Invaders Steel Orchestra, throughout the years, to name a few. Mr. Holman made history in 1972 when Starlift performed his original composition, ‘Pan on the Move’ at Panorama – the very first original composition to be played at the annual steelband competition. In the following years, his original compositions included ‘Pan Woman’, ‘Life’s Too Short’, ‘Steelband Paradise’ and ‘Heroes of the Nation’, and he paved the way for future savants to compose for Panorama.

He completed his degree in Sociology and Spanish at The UWI St Augustine, and immediately began teaching Spanish and History at Fatima College upon completing his studies. Mr. Holam has served as a Spanish interpreter at the 1974 CONCACAF Conference, a member of the Bureau of Standards Committee, and a board member of the Trinidad and Tobago Copyright Organization.

His career in music has carried him throughout the Caribbean, North and South America, Europe, and Asia as a composer, arranger, performer, co-director, festival adjudicator, artist-in-residence, guest artiste, and university faculty member. Between 2000 and today, Mr. Holman composed and arranged over 300 songs for steelbands and events and has performed internationally. In 2010, homage was paid to him in the Tribute to Ray Holman Concert at Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain. In 2020, he added ‘vocalist’ to the list of his professions with the release of his 6th album, First Love.

He has also been granted the Award for Contribution to Steelband Music from the Society of Young Achievers, the Award from Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arts Institute as a Legend of Pan, the Award from the Carnival Commission for Musical Contribution to Carnival, the Ellie Mannette Award for Excellence in Steelband Music, and the Award from Pan Trinbago. His accolades include induction into the Queen’s Royal College Hall of Fame, and he was named as one of the 50 national icons of Trinidad and Tobago at the commemoration of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.



About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global 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 its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). In the latest World University Rankings 2022, released in September 2021, The UWI moved up an impressive 94 places from last year. In the current global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI stands among the top 1.5%.

The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean, it is also in the top 20 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

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