News Releases

12 Honoured at UWI Graduation Ceremonies

For Release Upon Receipt - October 9, 2007

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI) 2007 Graduation Ceremonies will see the conferral of twelve honorary degrees: four at St Augustine Campus, four at Cave Hill Campus (Barbados) and four at Mona Campus (Jamaica). Five women are among the twelve persons to be conferred with honorary doctorates at the UWI graduation ceremonies in October and November this year – the first time that so many are to be so honoured by The University of the West Indies in the annual ritual of recognising outstanding contributors to the region. At the St Augustine Campus, three women – Justice Desiree Patricia Bernard, ceramic artist Vera Baney and journalist Camini Marajh – will be among the four persons slated to be conferred with honorary degrees. Queen’s Counsel, Dame Bernice V. Lake, will be one of the four Honorary Graduands at the Cave Hill ceremonies, while Bahamian Governor General, Dame Ivy Dumont will be the only female awardee at the Mona Campus graduation.

At the UWI St. Augustine Campus, two Doctor of Letters (DLitt) and two Doctor of Laws (LLD) degrees will be awarded. Trinidadian ceramic artist, Mrs Vera Baney, has consistently achieved excellence in the field of sculpture and pottery and has exhibited in many countries, including Canada, the UK, Trinidad & Tobago, the USA and in the former Yugoslavia. Her contribution to the Fine Arts was acknowledged and recognised by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago with the award, in 1982, of the Gold Hummingbird Medal. Mrs Baney will be conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

Trinidadian journalist, Miss Camini Marajh, will also receive the Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degree. Miss Marajh is an Investigations Editor with the Trinidad Express newspaper and over the years has reported in depth on a wide range of issues, including crime, the legislature and the environment in Trinidad and Tobago. For several years, she was recipient of the Royal Bank Media Excellence Award for ‘Best Investigative Report’ and ‘Journalist of the Year’.

Justice Desiree Patricia Bernard, the first female judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice, was also the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Guyana and the first female Chancellor of the Judiciary of Guyana. A native of Guyana, Justice Desiree Bernard has had an outstanding career in the legal profession and is highly acclaimed regionally as well as internationally. She will be conferred with the Doctor of Laws degree.

Grenadian agriculturalist, Mr Edward Kent, has made significant contributions to agricultural management and cattle-breeding in St Lucia, Grenada, Guyana and other Caribbean countries and will be awarded the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

The four persons to be conferred with the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa at the Cave Hill Campus ceremonies are Barbadian economist and international business consultant, Sir Courtney Blackman; Barbadian entrepreneur extraordinaire, Mr Geoffrey Cave; Anguillan Dame Bernice Lake; and Dominican Jurist, Dr Nicholas Liverpool.

Sir Courtney N.M. Blackman is founding Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, where he served three terms in that capacity. He also served, from 1995-2000 as his country’s Ambassador to the United States of America and as Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States. He has undertaken several consultancies for governments across the world as well as with various international institutions and private corporations. Sir Courtney graduated from the University College of the West Indies and went on to Columbia University, where he attained a PhD.

The four eminent persons to receive honorary doctorates at the two graduation ceremonies scheduled for the UWI Mona Campus include a Roman Catholic priest, a stateswoman, a noted philanthropist and a distinguished Caribbean scholar and educator. Dr G. Raymond Chang, a son of Jamaica living in Canada, is Chancellor of Ryerson University and a passionate advocate of continuing education and young adult learning. He has been a generous benefactor of St George’s College, his high school alma mater and also of The University of the West Indies. This philanthropist, who is also a Governor of the Royal Ontario Museum, was honoured for his generous support and commitment to lifelong learning with the naming of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education in Canada. Dr Chang will receive the Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Mr R. Geoffrey Cave is head of the well known retail enterprise, Cave Shepherd & Company Limited. He is also chairman of the Duty Free Caribbean Holdings. A graduate of McGill University, Mr Cave is a Justice of the Peace and, at the turn of the century, was awarded the Barbados Centennial Honour. In 2003, he was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE). Mr Cave has served with distinction on the Boards of various government and non-governmental organisations in Barbados.

Dame Bernice V. Lake, a Queen’s Counsel throughout the OECS Jurisdiction, is founding Senior Partner in the law firm Lake & Kentish of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as Anguilla. This University College of the West Indies graduate has given more than 35 years’ service to the legal profession and the West Indian community. Dame Bernice is a passionate human rights advocate and is committed to securing a climate of constitutionalism in the region.

His Excellency, Dr Nicholas J.O. Liverpool, President of The Commonwealth of Dominica, has also attained eminence in the legal profession. His outstanding contributions to the Caribbean Community as a jurist practicing in the Commonwealth of Dominica, in Antigua, Montserrat, Grenada, Belize and in the Bahamas, has been widely recognised. Among his many appointments were his tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Cave Hill Campus and his role as conceptualiser and director of the Caribbean Justice Improvement Project.

Roman Catholic priest, Father Gregory Ramkissoon, is best known for his work with physically and mentally challenged children under the ambit of the Mustard Seed Communities, which he founded in Jamaica over 25 years ago. Father Ramkissoon has been a faithful agent of change in Jamaica, the Caribbean region and even further afield, where his ministry targets the disadvantaged, providing them the loving care and nurturing they need. He also will be conferred with a Doctor of Laws degree.

Bahamian stateswoman, Dame Ivy Dumont, is the first female Governor-General of the Bahamas. She hails from Roses, Long Island in The Bahamas and holds a doctorate in Public Administration from Nova University. Before entering the political arena, Dame Ivy was an outstanding educator and administrator. She became her country’s Minister of Health and Environment also Minister of Education, Youth, Culture & Sport and served as a member of the Council of The University of the West Indies for many years. Dame Ivy is now retired but continues to educate and impact on the lives of many. She will also be conferred with the Doctor of Laws degree.

Professor Franklin Knight is an eminent educator and author at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, USA. One of the finest Caribbean historians of his generation, Professor Knight has written extensively on American slave systems and on social, political and cultural issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is an alumnus of the University of the West Indies and an active member of the UWI Alumni Association. He will be conferred with the Doctor of Letters degree.