News Releases

Regional University names twenty Honorary Graduands

For Release Upon Receipt - May 26, 2011

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI) will formally recognise the contributions that 20 Caribbean icons have made to regional development when it confers honorary degrees at the annual Graduation Ceremonies to be held across its four campuses in the months of October and November.

The ceremonies begin on October 15th with the Open Campus Graduation to be hosted this year in Antigua, where Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor-General of St. Lucia and Mr. Alwin Bully, Cultural Administrator will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) and Doctor of Letters (DLitt) degrees respectively. Graduation ceremonies at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados will claim the spotlight on October 22nd, when The Most Rev. Dr. The Hon. John W. D. Holder and Professor Compton Bourne receive the honorary LLD and Professor Kwesi Prah, Professor Emeritus Keith A. P. Sandiford the honorary DLitt and Dr. Shirley Brathwaite the honorary Doctor of Sciences (DSc) degree.

From October 27th to 29th, the celebrations move to the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad, where the honorary LLD will be conferred on Mrs. Helen Bhagwansingh, Professor Anantanand Rambachan, Mr. John Reginald Dumas, Sir Fenton H. Ramsahoye, Mr. Brian Charles Lara and Ambassador Kamaluddin Mohammed, while Mr. Donald ‘Jackie’ Hinkson and Mr. Roy Cape will receive the honorary DLitt.

Finally, on November 4th and 5th, the Mona Campus in Jamaica will host the closing set of graduation ceremonies. At Mona, Ms. Minna Israel, Mr. Earl Jarrett and The Hon. Usain Bolt, OJ will all receive the Honorary LLD while Professor Lenworth Jacobs and Dr. Erna Brodber will receive the DSc and DLitt respectively.



HE Dame Calliopa Pearlette Louisy, Governor-General of St. Lucia is the archetypal Caribbean leader. An educator and linguist by profession, Her Excellency is a Caribbean icon who has contributed to the development of the region. The widely published, highly decorated, multilingual Caribbean woman has made her mark on the public sector, particularly with reference to the education sub-sector. She was appointed Governor-General of St. Lucia in 1997. This holder of a BA (English and French), MA (Linguistics), PhD (Higher Education) and an honorary LLD has written a number of major papers and made presentations on Language and Education.

Mr. Alwin Anthony Bully has made an invaluable contribution to culture not only in Dominica but in the wider Caribbean. The accomplished playwright, actor, choreographer/dancer, director and culture adviser is also an educator at heart. Mr. Bully is the holder of a BA (General Honours) English and French from The UWI and has been the recipient of numerous awards over his long career including Caribbean/United States Theatre Exchange Award for West Indies Theatre Achievement in 1979; numerous Actor Boy Awards and the Best Costume Award –   Carnival Dominica in 2010. Some of his plays include The Nite Box (1977) and more recently Oseyi and the Masquerades (Screenplay) (2010). Mr. Bully is credited with having designed the Dominican national flag.



Dr. John Holder, Archbishop of the West Indies is a distinguished and respected scholar and theologian.  Emerging from a brilliant career at Codrington College he became the Bishop of Barbados and later Archbishop of the West Indies. Dr. Holder holds a Diploma in Theology (Dip.Th.) from Codrington College, a BA in Theology (UWI), a Masters in Sacred Theology (University of the South) and a PhD in Old Testament Studies from the University of London. He is widely published and most recently has an article ‘Joel’ in The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora.

One of Africa’s most distinguished scholars Professor Kwesi K. Prah is a leading intellectual advocate of the 21st century African renaissance. As a prominent linguist of the continent who speaks and researches dozens of languages, Professor Prah has served universities in all parts of the world and is a respected voice in development discourse. This acclaimed Ghanaian linguist has extensive experience as a consultant and has produced more than 230 publications and conference papers.

Professor Compton Bourne is one honorary graduand who has deep connections to The UWI. He is a graduate of the University of London, The University of Birmingham and The University of the West Indies. The former UWI Principal (St. Augustine 1996-2001), Pro-Vice-Chancellor Planning and Development (1990-1996) and Deputy Principal (St. Augustine 1990-1993) also served as a Director of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and until recently was President of the Caribbean Development Bank. Professor Bourne is the author/editor of 10 books and more than 50 scholarly papers in addition to more than 50 research reports and advisory memoranda for Caribbean governments, foreign governments and international development institutions and agencies.

Dr. Shirley Brathwaite is a tireless community servant. Born in St. Michael, Barbados she obtained her first degree in Medicine at The University of the West Indies then migrated to Canada to pursue a four-year fellowship and residency in Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Brathwaite has served as member of the Board of Directors of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa-Carleton Immigrant Services and the Hard to Serve Children Committee of Ottawa. She has also been President of the Barbados Ottawa Association for a number of years and an Executive Committee member of the National Council of Barbadian Associations in Canada. In 1992 Dr. Brathwaite was awarded the Commemorative Medal celebrating the 125th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. In 2009, she established the Dr. Shirley Brathwaite Foundation to support African-Canadian children at risk.  

Professor Keith A. P. Sandiford is an outstanding educator, author and community servant. He received his MA and PhD degrees from the University of Toronto before serving for 32 years as a Professor of History at the University of Manitoba from which he retired in 1998. Professor Sandiford’s numerous articles, books, pamphlets and reviews cover a wide range of topics including Caribbean cricket, Barbadian culture and education and West Indian contributions to Manitoban life. He is a pioneer in the sociology of sport and is internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading cricket statisticians and historians. In 2002, Professor Sandiford was elevated to the position of Professor Emeritus by the University of Manitoba and was awarded the Gold Crown of Merit in 2004 by the Barbados Government for his outstanding community service.



Mr. Donald ‘Jackie’ Hinkson is one of the Caribbean’s leading visual artists. For almost 50 years the painter and sculptor has devoted his life to the creation of a body of art which reveals an abiding concern for Caribbean humanity both past and present. During 1963-1964, Mr. Hinkson studied painting at the Académie Julian in Paris and went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the University of Alberta with distinction.  In 1970, Hinkson returned to Trinidad to become the first art teacher in the long history of his alma mater, Queen’s Royal College. The artist is committed to honouring the wider Caribbean in his work. Over his career Mr. Hinkson has had dozens of exhibitions and commissionings locally, regionally and internationally.

Self-made Trinidadian entrepreneur, Mrs. Helen Bhagwansingh began her career selling construction material to an impoverished community in Trinidad. Today, her business is a multifaceted corporation including Bhagwansingh’s Hardware and Steel Industries Limited, Dansteel Hardware and Centrin Steel Limited. Mrs. Bhagwansingh is also a significant shareholder in Cantres, an aluminium extrusion manufacturer and Rainbow Construction, a company that builds middle and low income houses. She is well known for her philanthropic and charitable donations including generous support of Habitat for Humanity, the Bridge of Hope Children’s Services and Education, Research and Prevention of Diabetes Mellitus.

From the time of his graduation from The University of the West Indies (St. Augustine) in 1972 Professor Anantanand Rambachan has established himself as an eminent university administrator, teacher and scholar. In 2007 he created history when he was elected head of the Religion Department of St. Olaf College in Minnesota, USA. This was the first time in the 133 year history of the College that a non-Christian was appointed to the position. Professor Rambachan has since achieved international status as a scholar in the discipline of Comparative Religions. Some of this Leeds University PhD’s most noted books include Accomplishing the Accomplished: The Vedas as a Source of Valid Knowledge in Shankara (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1991) and The Advaita Worldview: God, World and Humanity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006.) Professor Rambachan has also contributed to the work of the American Academy of religion (AAR), the World Council of Churches and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Mr. John Reginald Dumas has had a distinguished career as a public servant, diplomat and a consultant to Governments and to the United Nations. This Cambridge University graduate is also an advocate for a variety of humanitarian causes, particularly Haiti and is well known as an independent thinker. Mr. Dumas has served with distinction as Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to the Organisation of American States, Ethiopia and East Africa, India and South East Asia, and to the Eastern Caribbean. In 2000 he was elected Chairman of the Medianet Haiti Relief Fund and since then has worked ceaselessly on Haitian relief efforts. Mr. Dumas has written countless articles in newspapers and other periodicals, and has published In the service of the Public: articles and speeches 1963-1993 (pub. Canoe Press, The University of the West Indies, 1995) and has written An Encounter with Haiti: Note of a Special Advisor (pub. Medianet Ltd., 2008).

Mr. Brian Charles Lara is no stranger to any West Indian. In a career spanning a decade and a half, he has made an outstanding and widely recognised contribution to the game of cricket. He has set new standards for cricketing excellence and off the field has shown exemplary conduct as a humanitarian, businessman and entrepreneur. Brian Lara is the only batsman in test cricket history to break the record for the highest individual score twice. The first occasion was in 1994, when he scored 375 to break the 36-year record held by Sir Garfield Sobers. In 2003 his record was broken by Mathew Hayden. Six months later the insurmountable Brian Charles Lara broke Hayden’s 380 not out with his own 400 not out score. When he retired in 2007 Lara was the first and only West Indian player to score a test century against every test playing nation.

Sir Fenton Harcourt Wilworth Ramsahoye QC is a distinguished son of Guyana. He is an eminent Senior Council and a member of the Bar of countries across the Caribbean. Sir Fenton has served as the Attorney-General of Guyana; Deputy Director of Legal Education – Council of Legal Education, West Indies and Head of Hugh Wooding Law School. Sir Fenton holds a PhD in Comparative Land Law and has published The Development of Land Law in British Guiana (pub. Oceana Publications, NY, 1966). 

A foundation member of the People’s National Movement (PNM) political party in Trinidad and Tobago Kamaluddin Mohammed was Deputy Leader of the PNM under the late Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams. He has served Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region with distinction for 30 years as a Government Minister in various portfolios, having won his seat in Parliament for the first time in 1956. As Minister of West Indian Affairs from 1967-68, he was one of the architects of The Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA), the forerunner of The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). Beside his outstanding political contributions, Kamaluddin Mohammed is well known for his engagement in religious and community work as well as his pioneering contributions to the development of East Indian culture through radio and stage performance. He has received Trinidad and Tobago’s highest national award and has donated numerous papers to The UWI’s St. Augustine Campus Library.

Mr. Roy Cape is an outstanding musician who is well-respected in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean Diaspora. Both the quantity and quality of Mr. Cape’s work throughout his 52-year career have been outstanding. A saxophonist with membership in some of the most reputed orchestras in the 1960s, Mr. Cape’s unquestionable recognition by musicians in and out of Trinidad and Tobago has enabled him to play the crucial role of musical advisor throughout his career. Roy Cape has had membership in more than a dozen bands during his career and has also served as band leader in numerous bands including Roy Cape Kaiso All Stars and Roy Cape All Stars. His touring experience is also very extensive and includes territories such as Cuba, The United States and Europe. For his contribution to local music, Mr. Cape is viewed as a vital part of Trinidad and Tobago carnival and has received Trinidad and Tobago’s National Award the Humming Bird Gold for loyal and devoted service.



Jamaican author Dr. Erna Brodber has used her writings to offer a measure of healing to those with untold stories. Dr. Brodber earned her BA from The University of the West Indies when it was still The University College of the West Indies. She immersed herself  in academia and went on to attain an MSc and PhD. Dr. Brodber pursued many other professions before focusing on writing and was a member of staff at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the Mona Campus, Jamaica. While at ISER she worked to collect the oral histories of elders in rural Jamaica, a project that would later inspire her novel Louisiana. Encounters with the Black Power Movement and Women’s Liberation coupled with her early familial indoctrination to the importance of family have caused Dr. Brodber to pen novels that deal with the healing power of community.

A career banker, Ms. Minna Israel was appointed President and Country Head of RBTT Bank Jamaican Limited in January, 2008. Prior to her appointment at RBTT Ms. Israel spent numerous years as an executive of the Bank of Nova Scotia in The Bahamas and Jamaica. Her performance and contribution to the wider society have earned her a number of awards including The American Foundation for The University of the West Indies (AFUWI) Caribbean Luminary Award for her significant contribution to banking in the Caribbean and the University of Technology, Jamaican (UTECH) Distinguished Alumni Award. She holds a Master’s of Business Administration in Finance and General Management from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and a BSc in Management Studies from The University of the West Indies. She is a member of The UWI Vice Chancellor’s Award selection team and The University of the West Indies’ Capital Development Taskforce. 

Mr. Earl Jarrett will receive the Honorary LLD from The University of the West Indies for his sterling contribution to banking in Jamaica. Mr. Jarrett holds both a BSc and an MSc in Accounting and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica. He has been the General Manager of the Jamaican National Building Society (JNBS) since 1999, and has also held leadership positions at the International Union of Housing Finance, the Dudley Grant Memorial Trust and has been a Board Advisor to the Inter-American Dialogue Financial Services.

Ambassador The Hon. Usain Bolt, OJ, CD is an outstanding Jamaican sprinter known for his amazing performance in men’s athletics. He won three gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m events and set  new world records at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and at the 2009 World Championships. Among his many accolades is his induction into the society of the Order of Jamaica (OJ) (2009), by the Government of Jamaica, for outstanding distinction in the field of Sports; and in 2008, he also received the National Honour, the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander for outstanding service to Jamaica. In 2009, Bolt was also conferred with the diplomatic title ‘Ambassador-at-Large’. Internationally, Bolt was voted the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) Male Athlete of the Year (2009, 2008); and, was one of two Jamaicans named for the 2009 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Champion for Sports Award.

Professor Lenworth Jacobs received his medical degree at The University of the West Indies. He completed his surgical residency in Boston at the Peter Brigham Hospital and the Boston University Medical Center. He then received a Master's degree in Public Health at Harvard University. Professor Jacobs is a past President of the American Trauma Society, Governor of the American College of Surgeons, Founder and past President of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma. Professor Jacobs is also the Founder and National Director of the Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM) course. More than 1,200 surgeons have been certified by ATOM across the US, Canada, the Middle East and West Africa.

Professor Jacobs has made more that 200 presentations across the world and has more than 180 publications. He has been conferred with The West African College of Surgeons Honorary Fellow in 2007; The American College of Surgeons Fellowship, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, National Safety Council 2005 Surgeons’ Award for Service to Safety; and the American Trauma Society President’s Award in 2004.


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Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.