News Releases

UWI Campus Principal hosts Official Visit of Queen of Spain

For Release Upon Receipt - February 17, 2009

St. Augustine

The University of The West Indies (UWI), Pro Vice Chancellor and St. Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Clement K. Sankat hosted an Official Visit from Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. today, Tuesday 17th February, 2009. Her Majesty’s visit to the University is part of the state visit of the Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain to Trinidad and Tobago. Her Excellency Dr. Jean Ramjohn-Richards, wife of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago accompanied Her Majesty on this historic visit to the Office of the Campus Principal.

The royal party entered the Campus from the Eastern Main Road, across the Priority Bus Route and through the old main entrance to the Campus, and past the Administration Building, where the flags of The UWI, Trinidad and Tobago, and Spain were at full mast. The flags of the member countries of the UWI were flown on flag poles lining the route to the Principal’s Office.

Upon their arrival at the Principal’s grounds, Her Excellency and Her Majesty were formally greeted by the Campus Principal and his wife, Dr Rohani Maharaj, who presented floral arrangements to Her Excellency and Her Majesty. Professor Sankat then officially welcomed the Spanish delegation which included: Doña Belén Casans, wife of the Spanish Ambassador; Don José Cabrera, Head of the Private Office of Her Majesty; Don Toribio de Prado, Member of Protocol; Doña María Sebastián de Erice, Deputy Head of Mission and Don Bernardo de Lizaur, Deputy Head of Protocol for the Spanish Royal Household.

Her Majesty and Her Excellency were then escorted to a marquee in the Principal’s garden, where they were greeted by an official welcome party, which consisted: Christine Kangaloo, the Honourable Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education; Mr Kennedy Swaratsingh, the Honourable Minister of Public Administration; and Mr. Vasant Bharat, Member of Parliament for St. Augustine. Members of the Senior Management and other officials of the University were also presented, including: Pro Vice Chancellor (PVC) for Research, Professor Wayne Hunte; Deputy Campus Principal, Professor Rhoda Reddock; Campus Registrar, Mr. Jeremy Callaghan; Campus Bursar, Mrs. Lylla Bada; Campus Librarian, Ms. Jennifer Joseph, as well as a number of Faculty Deans and Spanish nationals teaching at UWI St Augustine.

Hundreds of specially invited guests listened attentively as the Principal formally welcomed Her Majesty and Her Excellency to the University, and the audience watched closely as Her Majesty planted a Double Chaconia (Warszewiczia coccinea var ‘David Auyong’) in the nearby garden.

Next, the royal party proceeded to the Principal’s Office, to view a special commemorative exhibition featuring letters of Christopher Colombus, trade maps, documents, books, as well as historic photographs of St Joseph (courtesy of Dr Glenroy Taitt) and other materials related to the Spanish influence in Trinidad and Tobago. The special exhibition was facilitated by Professor Bridget Brereton of the Department of History, Dr. Lancelot Cowie of the Department of Liberal Arts and Ms Jennifer Joseph, Campus Librarian.

The Principal, Her Excellency and Her Majesty then proceeded to the Principal’s Office, where Her Majesty received a gift from The University of the West Indies and signed the Visitor’s Book of The UWI before taking her leave of the St Augustine Campus.

The two-day state visit of the Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain to Trinidad and Tobago was the first time in more than five centuries that Spanish royalty has officially visited Trinidadian soil. The Kingdom of Spain has a relationship with The University of the West Indies which allows UWI students to attend Spanish universities. Spain has also funded the university staff position of ‘Lector in Spanish’, and His Excellency Mr. Fernando de la Serna has instituted the Embassy for Spain Prize for Peninsular Spanish Literature. Spain has also provided literature, teaching materials and scholarships to UWI students. The official visit is expected to further strengthen the existing ties between UWI and the Kingdom of Spain.

For more information about the Official Visit from Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, please contact the Marketing and Communications Office of The University of the West Indies at (868) 662-2002 Ext. 3636.